On this episode of the Full Stack Leader, we’re talking with Lloyd Fuentes of the LA Mission. Lloyd has been in the information technology industry for around 10 years.

His skills have been obtained through job experience and classroom settings. Lloyd has successfully led projects to bring enterprise companies to industry standards. His passion has always been the driving point for his work ethic.

Lloyd has a distinct passion for the un-housed here in Los Angeles and with his help, the LA Mission is doing incredible things for our community

Check out  and donate to the LA Mission Here

We hope you enjoy the episode. You can find even more Full Stack Leader episodes here: Full Stack Leader

Show Transcript:

Ryan: Hello everyone, and welcome back to this week’s episode of the Full Stack Leader Podcast. Again, we’re here with a special episode at South by Southwest 2023, and I’m excited to be sitting with Lloyd Fuentes of the LA Mission. It’s ironic to be meeting you here in Los or here in Austin?

Yeah. With both of us being from Los Angeles, but uh, he’s, he’s a system administrator at the mission and he works with the technology there and thinking about how the technology is going out to help a rather large n needing population in, in the city. So I’m, I’m glad to be able to talk to you here today.

I have lived in LA for 30 years. I know, I know the the environment and the space and um, I’m excited to talk about what the future of technology might look like in helping homelessness. 

Lloyd: Correct. Correct. I, and I think that the first thing that that comes to mind is just the data, the data reporting, because then you go back to governments or state uh, agencies and actually say like, this is the data that we have.

This is. Funds should be allocated to actually help solve homelessness. You know what I mean? Because a lot of funds sometimes get mis allocated to different companies and actually, you know, providing the funds is the first start with actually getting the right technology. Where, we start looking more for like, how do we solve it with homelessness, with healthcare, and we use technology.

So even having, so. As, as much as a fob or something that has their healthcare information, where now you don’t have to wait for a person to person interaction, but we’re, we are already having that interaction with technology and actually having the whole medical record pulled up by the time we just, you know, a medical professional just comes up and, and taps wherever the NFC artist fab is on them, and then they go from there.


Ryan: yeah. 1 of the things that I’ve seen in talking to you, and I’ve also just kind of witnessed is the combination of how to help an individual person and, and the thing that they’re going through, and then also how to look at the larger quantitative data across an entire set. Correct.

And in this particular population, there’s a lot of anonymous correct people. So unlike, unlike products people might use in you know, SAS or Correct or some other thing where it’s very kind of like, uh, person. Response and, and 

Lloyd: cater to, to that, that need . Yeah, exactly. 

Ryan: This, this is like, you have to look at, oh, how do I help a group?

Yes, yes. But then how do I also create a, a level of personalization that’s helpful. So, correct. So one of the ideas you were, you and I were talking about, was this like kind of FOB idea or, yes, yes. Which is challenging, right? Because we, we do have a lot of protection, correct. Um, Privacy 

Lloyd: in those.

Correct. I mean, you have to stay in the lines of hipaa and then I mean, Sometimes even PCI cuz of the, the the payments and stuff that might happen within that. But 

Ryan: but do you think, do you think it has a possibility of being misused at some point? 

Lloyd: I would say in the good faith to me, who would say . No , right?

Yeah. Yeah. But I mean, it can be especially uh, we, definitely look, have to look at the back end and the front end of the cybersecurity aspect that will, will go paired with that. And making sure that it’s not hackable, but you know, in this world everything is hackable. It just depends on the time.

Ryan: Yeah, I think, I think one of the big, you know, talking about the future of technology and one of the big things that’s, that is like at the forefront right now, and I think we’re gonna see tools, more and more tools develop over the course of time is like how to own your data more, right?

How you, how you can individually own your data versus other companies owning your data and then maybe having to license it or you have to. It’s more of an opt-in. This might be one of those cases where people don’t trust to give their data 

Lloyd: over, right? Correct. Correct, correct. And, and I mean, we’re, we’re finding out out more and more especially with, you know, AI and, and how, how people are finally seeing what’s going on.

And then uh, you know, The person that doesn’t un really understand AI can just type a, a phrase of what they want to use it for, and the AI actually responds to them in the way that, you know, it might take us, a couple of seconds to already know where to go, look for it. But now you’re offering a tool to the average person that doesn’t understand technology.

So it, I mean, it’s, it’s a, a gift and a. 

Ryan: Yeah, I, I was thinking about this. So I think, I think in Los Angeles, if I’m, if I’m correct, I, if I recall there, you can dial two 11 

Lloyd: on a phone. Correct. Two 11 is a service that actually helps provide housing for a person or get, them housing. So it’s a referral program.

So two 11, I actually used to work closely with them at another company. And just seeing how they work and how they keep. , I guess. These nonprofits are, the NGOs connected to each other and actually making sure that they’re making the right referral for people is actually even important.

I just wish that they would actually be a little bit more, they use technology, they still kind of use it in a more older way where the referrals, you have to either call or you, you gotta go. So I wish it was more of like a application, right. Right there at the forefront to, you know what I mean?

Because, so the 

Ryan: workflow’s like more Correct. Like more intelligently passed through. Correct. Well, I, I was definitely thinking it, it’s, it is a good example of something that that you could have like kind of AI oriented tools maybe help people direct into 

Lloyd: the right areas. Correct.

 And that’s, that would be something that would kind of be a game changer. Now you’re actually teaching AI to actually Kind of refer a person correctly where, you know what I mean? Human mistakes. We might not be paying attention to certain things, but AI is going to, learn from that and actually, do the correct referral process or sometimes even in our referral.

with the human interaction we forget to do it this way and if we just teach AI that this is the correct way, then it can be a game changer. Do you, 

Ryan: do you think that that tools like that and, and maybe other kind of smartly presented tools with within the communities that are out on the streets, that they’re gonna help adoption of some of these like, assisting tools.

So people get more and more used to the technology itself. 

Lloyd: Yeah. Yeah. I think it’ll definitely make it a lot better as far as like, people not being too computer, I literate mm-hmm. and actually guiding them through cuz you know, more and more I hear, oh, I’m not computer savvy or I’m not, I don’t like technology as much 

if you actually use it and learn, sit, take the time to learn. you’ll love it. You know, I might be just only speaking for my love of it, but I think, it makes your life a lot, a lot easier. And with the homeless community, it’ll make them understanding a little bit more.

I mean, but also with the homeless community, they battle from addiction to mental. Yeah. To just not wanting the responsibilities. It’s so many things that couple with it, but offering uh, a technology or where a way they can immediately uh, chat in to their counselor if they have an addiction.

Yeah. Immediately chat into their psychologist. Psychologist. Yes. Yes. Something like that. it’ll help, make the transition a lot smoother, where we’re still trying to figure it out and it’s a, 

Ryan: and so tele telemedicine seems, I mean, you think about telemedicine opening up like maybe regional doctors that you couldn’t normally tap into or something like that for, I’m on this side of the country and I want to get a doctor in Los Angeles.

Correct. But it also, it also allows for people who may not have the wherewithal or the capabilities of getting to anything correct. Like be. Kind of in their hands, they at least can, can ask for more acute help. Correct. If they need to. 

Lloyd: Right? Correct. , and that’s, I think that’s definitely the the things that we need to start solving because, sometimes people don’t have the means to, to get to a doctor or they don’t have the means to actually understand what doctor they need to see or, you know what I mean?

So opening it. Where you can just pull up. Like UCLA actually does a really good job at doing that where they have these vans that they’ve equipped it and actually pull up to 

Ryan: service. Like mobile. Like mobile? A mobile, 

Lloyd: yeah. A mobile healthcare unit where you go, the person goes into the van and they actually get evaluation done.

Or they actually get their physicals done. They actually get, you know what I mean, a whole health 

Ryan: screening. So, so could there in the future potentially be like self-driving mobile vans where people come making 

Lloyd: an autonomous Yes. Yeah. Autonomous vehicle that I I don’t think we’re not that far.

I mean, I think the way we’re moving, it could be a possibility definitely to, to kind of ease that. Well, I gotta, I gotta be here at. You know, a doctor appointment, I gotta go clearly across town or the doctor I trust is in Boston. Now you have a van that can easily connect these people. What about, 

Ryan: what about matching up data sets?

So I know, I know like you guys have a, a very like, robust set of data around right. The homeless population in, in, in Los Angeles. Correct. As well as probably, probably stuff tied into that, including mental health addiction data, stuff like that. Correct. But then there’s also data. Within Los Angeles or even you know, this could be San Francisco, it could be New York, whatever.

Okay. Where you have open open data on housing, open data on available buildings, open data on things that maybe we, we haven’t been able to put data sets together before to look at like, could it intelligently solve problems around 

Lloyd: Yeah. And, and I think that that comes to everybody willing to, to actually.

Sit at the table and join in on it. Yeah, because you’re talking about a huge data, pool that’s would actually help, you know what I mean? but how do we connect it to each agency? like, let’s say we have these data pools on these person where they, they lived here, but now they need housing over here, or this person suffers.

A mental disability. Mm-hmm. . So how do we get that data to all these agencies? Especially even let’s say EMT might have pulled up, it would already know like if this person is homeless, then the where to go search for this person. Yeah. That will be a game changer, especially because every agency would underst.

this person’s walk of life, right? Like it’ll start reporting. This person has been at the LA Mission and went through the program, but now this person has housing over here. They’re a little bit more stable, you know, it’ll already have that reporting and it’ll basically report back on how successful the programs are really big, using the data as a, good tool and not a manipulative tool 

Ryan: on that.

And I know you and I are big fans of technology. That’s why we’re here, you know? Correct. That’s why we’re doing our thing. And we’ve worked in the industry, so we have, we, we obviously have a bias and an affinity towards believing that technology brings all good, but it also, it also can have negative impact, you know?

So I know a lot of the people who end up in homeless situations are, it’s because they’re losing their jobs. Correct? Correct. It’s because there is a, a for sure kind of weakening more and more of society, of certain types of jobs being. Removed or eliminated? Correct. Do you see more of that coming with the rise of, of more automation and ai in the next little bit?

And how do you think that’s going to impact, um, do you see any way to counter, counter impact some of that stuff? I know we were talking about some of the 

Lloyd: training programs Yeah. And stuff like that. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s kind of hard to tell cuz we still are at that, that tip, tip of the iceberg.

We’re still there. We’re not, we’re not. Deep down yet. But I, the way that companies are trying to do cutbacks and stuff like that, they, I think they can try to rely on it. But then it’s also that AI doesn’t have emotions, so, it’s hard for AI to feel and understand when certain things are not supposed to go that way.

Yeah, yeah. So, AI is just only gonna think that it’s supposed to be this way in, in its set and plan. As far as, like I always say, you try to cut the job back and use AI to rely on everything you already fail because AI is not gonna be reliable as far as like, understanding when employee needs to take a day off, or an employee might need a mental health break day.

So, it’s those things that are gonna factor in where the AI is just gonna keep trying to work, keep trying to work where, as we pass off or understand workflows, you know, workflows can be automated, but it’s also other stuff that needs to be improved and, and held up and wait for, 

yeah. Especially like in projects when you’re coding, you might have only got the code to create a workflow to tell it. Right. Yeah. But you gotta still wait on the next person that has the start button. So you know what I mean? AI is just gonna work through that and not understanding why it can’t go to the next, 


Left off here

Ryan: the contextualization matters a lot. Correct? Correct. Correct. 

Lloyd: That makes sense. And I mean, so I see companies actually going try to, do, you know what I mean? Use AI a lot and actually try to cut some of the job force, but then, how much are you gonna be willing to pay for something like that at the expense that you’re gonna lose real talent, you know what I mean?

To cut your workforce in half, so, yeah. 

Ryan: Do you, do you think that the, the nature of how we, we do money together is maybe gonna have to be looked at? Or is it just a matter of like, jobs changing or, you know, when you’re down in it? Is that what you’ve seen.

Because I, I know, I actually know a lot of this population has been impacted by automation in other industries. Correct. And we’re just getting to some of the stuff in, in this 

Lloyd: industry. Yeah. , I think we have to take an assessment of , how we actually really do money together and understand that we have.

Come to back to a table and say, all right, this is just . This is just enough. Enough is enough. Let’s sit down. Really understand. But also, I also believe in too, that you should pay for, what you’re worth and the, the talent that’s you have. But it’s also a weird space we’re in, where people are just, you know what, I’m a go fully remote and I, I’m not going , I’m not gonna take a job unless you’re you’re offering a remote.

Yeah, but it’s. Why always be remote because then now you have three remote jobs working from home. Yeah. So that’s what I’m seeing a lot more too, where people are not, don’t wanna be back in the workspace. They want to just only go work from home and just go from there. So I think that’s what’s driving a lot of the, the numbers and then what companies are looking at like, well, we could just use AI too.

So . So that’s, that’s where I think it’s kind of hurting us where. It helped us in Covid to be remote and still stay afloat, but we have to come back to work and actually, start showing jobs, your work, because a lot of companies, our CEOs are looking at reports and the data pools and like, well, I can increase productivity by this much if I just use 

Ryan: this other tool.

Yeah, , it is crazy. One, one last question for you and then we’ll wrap up. Yeah. But uh, how, how do you think that the technology is gonna help change the connection between people and specifically the ability for people to connect with those that are struggling and maybe support one another?

Do you see, do you see ways in which that might be able to, to change the next five to seven years? 

Lloyd: Yeah. I do. And I think that just goes back to the love of technology. Yeah. , right, right. Yeah. And where we always, you know, that’s why I’m asking you this , I think in good faith, yes. I think it’s gonna create ways to actually help us, and kind of make us learn faster improve our overall mental mental health.

I think it’ll it’ll improve the c. That we’re, we’re servicing. Just because, you know, before we never thought that it’ll be a way where we might offer, free movie night for the community where we could get a projector Yeah. And just throw it up on the wall 

Ryan: like that, that 

Lloyd: wasn’t even in consideration.

Yeah. So like, stuff like that to help, you know, just say, you know what, I understand that you’re having a bad day. Provide a movie night for you in the community. And we have the speakers and everything and they just enjoy it. Alisa escaped for two hours, in that movie, or, you know what I mean?

We use, Hey, come get computer training, or, , pick up another skill set where you only offer an hour or two. Now, that hour or two is, it’s helped you actually improve your life as far as. Being able to get on a computer and work, work around from like certain skill sets and understanding that okay, I can use this to help me and actually increase my bandwidth.

Yep. And, in good faith, , I do see us , catching it back up to that technology gap in the next five years, if not. Okay, great. The way things are going, especially with ai. So, 

Ryan: so, so you think, you think that in the long run technology can absolutely help some of the challenges around poverty and homelessness and, and correct some of those things that 

Lloyd: we’re facing, correct.

Correct. And it is definitely, and it, and it, and it always comes back to you using it in good faith. But. with practicing good faith, you always gotta understand that it’s gonna be that other person that’s gonna manipulate it, but you can’t worry about that. You have to just keep doing what you’re doing to actually provide technology in a, in a more safe and good way.

So, yep. So that’s definitely what I, you know, I feel I like 

Ryan: the optimistic, optimistic outlook and I, I feel the same way. So, it’s been great to talk to you and hear your insights and thoughts on this. We appreciate the work you’re doing with that population every day. Correct. And hopefully, hopefully we do have tools that that can help make some changes.


Lloyd: Yeah. All right. So thank you. Thanks. Thanks, Lloyd. Thanks. All right.