News

Experts: Youth homelessness is reaching a crisis

More than 2,500 youth under age 25 deemed homeless in Santa Clara County

Francisco Vargas stands next to Blaine Dzwonczyk, who is holding Elisa Morales, at a rally to support the homeless held in at Mountain View's Civic Center Plaza on March 6, 2018. Vargas, 23, lives in an RV with his parents. Photo by Michelle Le.

At 23, Francisco Vargas is in the prime of his life. Just a few years ago, he graduated from Los Altos High School. He has a girlfriend, a steady job and he's taking night classes at Foothill Community College in hopes of getting an anthropology degree.

But he's been depressed, with a sense of hopelessness about his future in the Bay Area. It's a gloom that's been hanging over his whole family for two years, he said, ever since they were priced out of their two-bedroom apartment on Montecito Avenue in Mountain View. They couldn't afford the rent any longer, but they were determined to stay in the area where they had laid down roots.

His parents planned to sleep in his father's work truck while Vargas would bunk in his sedan. Then, a friend located a 15-foot-long aluminum trailer large enough for all three of them, and the family began living on the street in Mountain View's Jackson Park neighborhood.

Vargas told the Voice he has been pushing himself to stay productive in hopes of being able to afford to rent an apartment. His family might be homeless, but it's not indigent. His father works a landscaping job, and Vargas said he was recently hired as a maintenance worker for the city of Los Altos. His mother can't work, due to her arthritis.

In many other parts of the county, Vargas would not be considered poor. He has a smartphone, a car, a dog and a steady income. Meeting at a downtown cafe, he refused to let a Voice reporter pay for his meal.

Yet stable housing still remains out of reach. Even with two incomes, his family would have had to pay 75 percent of their earnings to pay rent on an apartment, he said.

Living in the trailer was supposed to save money, but given all the costs, it still feels like they're losing ground, he said. While they aren't paying rent, the family has to pay for a storage unit for their belongings, fuel to stay warm, vehicle maintenance and frequent parking tickets. The pressure his family is under makes it difficult for him to concentrate on his studies.

"I have to worry about school, but also about work, and now also about housing. And I have to keep constantly thinking about this, every day," he said.

"It feels like I'm trapped. But if you want to live in this area, what else can you do?"

California's housing crisis

That California has a housing crisis is no secret: decades of insufficient residential development created a distorted housing market that's heavily tilted against low-income renters. Locally, suburban Eichler homes that sold for $23,000 a half century ago are considered a bargain at $1.5 million. About half of all renters in Santa Clara County are considered cost burdened, meaning they're paying more than 30 percent of their total income toward monthly rent, according to U.S. Census data.

Following the recession, the cost of rental housing has rebounded with a vengeance. Since 2010, the median price for rental housing across the Bay Area has increased by $1,100 a month, surpassing almost every other region in the U.S. In Mountain View, monthly rents have increased by $1,470 over the same period.

This surge has been a windfall for older Californians who bought a house back when they were cheap and plentiful. California's housing crisis predictably dovetails with a growing homelessness crisis -- one that is falling hardest on the youngest generation. Youth homelessness has spiked across the Bay Area and other large California cities in recent years, leading experts to warn of a new generation plagued by unstable housing.

Last year, more than 2,500 youth under the age of 25 were considered homeless across Santa Clara County, nearly triple the number from just two years earlier. The number was derived as part of a biennial "Point in Time" homeless count.

The South Bay isn't alone: the same count found homeless youth rates spiking in other parts of California. In Los Angeles County, 2,493 additional homeless youth were counted, a 93 percent increase; about 530 more in San Diego County, an 85 percent increase; and nearly 700 more in Alameda County, a 230 percent increase. This was all compared to just the last count done two years prior.

"Holy mackerel!" Lorraine Flores said she remembers thinking when she first saw those numbers. As an associate director at the Santa Clara-based Bill Wilson Center, which provides services to at-risk youth, she helped organize the 2017 count in Santa Clara County.

Her team put more effort than ever before into the job. Flores recruited homeless youth to serve as guides, who helped her team chart out common "hot spots" where street youth would gather, such as Rengstorff Park in Mountain View and Greer Park in Palo Alto. They spent seven hours on the count, nearly double the time spent any previous year, Flores said. If she had her druthers, they would've spent the whole day walking the streets if it meant getting a more accurate number.

Still, when the numbers came back, Flores said she felt her stomach sink a little -- 1,650 more homeless youth in Santa Clara County than recorded in 2015. That figure is likely still an undercount, she said.

"It was an alarming number, but at the same time it also made sense for why we're seeing so many homeless youth at our center, and on our waiting list," Flores said. "And I have to believe there's far more homeless youth than any of these counts have found."

Like Santa Clara, counties across the United States made a concerted effort in 2017 to count as many homeless youth as possible. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Department, the chief government agency in charge of homelessness, provided an incentive, stipulating that 2017 would serve as a baseline that future years' funding would be compared against.

These numbers are likely just scratching the surface, capturing only a fraction of the true number of young people who lack stable housing, according to experts. Homeless youth are notoriously hard to track -- at a glance, many street youth may look like any other teenagers. Compared to the general homeless population, they tend to avoid shelters, soup kitchens and service agencies where unhoused individuals would normally be counted. Many of them are struggling out of sight.

As homeless survey teams were out on a January morning in 2017 to canvass the streets of Mountain View, they may have counted Vargas and his family living in their trailer. But there would be no way for this survey team to know about his relative and her baby, who were sharing a bedroom in someone else's Mountain View apartment. The same goes for his classmate who is couchsurfing in East Palo Alto. All of these unstable living situations meet most definitions of homelessness, but they are almost always missed in homeless surveys, according to experts.

Couchsurfing and doubled-up sharing of bedrooms, garages and other spaces is believed to account for 75 percent of the homeless youth nationally, according to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Far from perfect, the regional Point in Time count offers one snapshot of homelessness, said Dr. Colette Auerswald, an associate professor at University of California at Berkeley who has closely studied youth homelessness. She strongly believes all the Point in Time numbers should be seen as a crude baseline, the outermost layer of a deep-rooted problem, she said. If it were to get a grade, she would give it a D- for accuracy.

For a slightly better study, she points to the data provided by the McKinney-Vento law, the landmark 1987 bill that created the first federal homeless program. As part of that study, McKinney-Vento has been expanded to require school districts to assign a staff member to be a liaison tracking homeless students and gauging the nature of their living situations.

The most recently reported numbers, from 2016, shows that about 1 in 20 public school students in California are homeless. The vast majority of homeless students -- about three-quarters -- are living doubled up with multiple family members or others sharing the same room. Here is a data map of the high school and unified school districts. Here is a data map of elementary and unified school districts.

But the McKinney-Vento data has its own flaws. The school data only tracks students 18 years old and younger who are enrolled and don't drop out of school.

"I'm old enough to remember when homelessness was rare," Auerswald said. "What we have now just didn't exist. Period. There was poverty, but it wasn't anything like this."

According to Auerswald and others, things have gotten so bad in the Bay Area that people are starting to believe that homelessness is normal. Doubling up in a single room or sleeping on a colleague's couch sounds like a typical Silicon Valley living situation for many millennials. But for anyone who has to endure such unstable housing for prolonged periods, it is essentially the same as homelessness and carries many of the same issues, said Sparky Harlan, executive director of the Bill Wilson Center. Especially for young people, lacking stable housing can have huge negative repercussions on their development, education and future prospects, she said.

"Every homeless person starts out on a couch," Harlan said. "Depending on what day it is, a youth could be sleeping on a friend's couch or they could be out on the street. They go back and forth, and the idea they're two distinct populations is inaccurate."

A more plausible theory is that youth homelessness has not suddenly skyrocketed; instead, it has gone unnoticed. It may have been widespread for years, and data is beginning to trickle in that shows its extent. Many of the experts who were interviewed by the Voice say they believe youth homelessness has been steadily increasing since the 1980s, when the federal government ceased most direct funding of affordable housing.

"People talk about this group as the invisible homeless," said Shahera Hyatt, director of the California Homeless Youth Project. "Our society overemphasizes substance abuse and mental health as being pathways into homelessness, but really, many of these folks just don't have an economic and social safety net. We put an undue emphasis on personal responsibility on this issue, but that ignores the national crisis that is growing."

Kids living in vehicles

Victoria, a mother of four, moved to Mountain View last year because her husband had family in the area, and he thought he could find stable work in the bustling construction industry. Back in Los Angeles, her husband's boss didn't pay him for months and the couple drained their savings waiting for a paycheck that never came. At her request, the Voice changed her name to protect the privacy of her children, who attend local schools.

When the family arrived in Mountain View, the plan to bunk with relatives didn't work out ("family issues," Victoria said.) Instead, her husband's relatives gave them a car and for a time, the family of six squeezed inside the sedan and tried to sleep in a Safeway parking lot.

They began renting a trailer for $500 a month that had barely enough room to fit everyone. Her older children, ages 12, 10 and 8 years old, sleep up in the trailer loft while her 2-year-old sleeps in a car seat. Victoria and her husband sleep head-to-head on the floor.

During last summer's grueling heatwave, Victoria said she often stayed up through the night to fan her children so they could sleep.

"I cry at night when I look at them," she said in Spanish.

The plight of Victoria and Francisco Vargas and their families is not unique. In Mountain View, homelessness has become harder to ignore, as several neighborhoods have transformed into de facto trailer parks for people living out of cars, RVs and trailers. As of March, there are nearly 300 inhabited vehicles throughout the city, nearly double the number from last year, according to city officials.

A series of new studies are beginning to show just how prevalent youth homelessness has become in the U.S. and especially the Bay Area.

The study with a widest scope came from a national survey of more than 26,000 people conducted by the University of Chicago Chapin Hall school. Unlike the routine on-the-ground counts, this study was a conducted in 2017 as a phone survey by the Gallup polling firm. Households with young people were called up and respondents were asked whether any youth had couchsurfed or been homeless over the past year.

From that survey, the study found that one in 10 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 were experiencing some form of homelessness -- roughly 3.5 million people. Between the ages of 13 and 17, at least one in 30 were experiencing homelessness, or about one in every classroom, according to the study. Surprisingly, the Chapin Hill study found homelessness was prevalent in both rural and urban areas; it was a problem shared by San Francisco as well as South Dakota.

These findings are mirrored in a mix of other recently published reports. About one in 10 college students in California are homeless, according to a 2016 report by the California State University system. About one in five college students lacked enough food to eat.

More locally, the Santa Clara-based Bill Wilson Center surveyed South Bay community colleges and reported that 44 percent of students -- nearly half the student body -- identified a classmate who was experiencing homelessness. The study eliminated duplicate student names provided by those surveyed, Flores said.

While the growing body of research shows that youth homelessness is becoming widely prevalent, federal and state policy for the most part continues to ignore this segment of the homeless population. Most resources for homelessness are directed toward the so-called chronically homeless, who are defined as individuals with a disability who have been living on the street for a year or more. But focusing on helping only the most dire cases ignores the source of homelessness, experts say.

"People don't just fall out of the sky and one day become chronically homeless," said Barbara Duffield, executive director of SchoolHouse Connection. "The pipeline for homelessness is youth homelessness, and the failure to address youth homelessness is leading to more homelessness."

Michelle Le and Ana Sofia Amieva-Wang contributed to this report. Spanish translation was provided by Amieva-Wang.

This investigative report is the first in a two-part series on youth homelessness that was supported by a California Data Journalism fellowship from the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism.

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Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Mark Noack writes for the Mountain View Voice, the sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.

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Comments

27 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 25, 2018 at 11:32 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Simple solution: stop building more offices that only increase housing competition and price more people out of the housing market and into homelessness.

Last night we drove Alma/Central to dinner S of 85 and I was horrified to see all the RV's parked practically solid against fence the RR tracks. They went on for MILES.

Drive it yourself and see. And do everything you can to fight all the moves to eliminate the office caps that will only make the situation worse.


15 people like this
Posted by 3rd & 33rd... world
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 25, 2018 at 12:13 pm

What kind of country.....


16 people like this
Posted by Cat Mom Leonorilda
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 25, 2018 at 1:05 pm

What is propelling this crisis? Greed, greed, and more of the same. Need one say more?


26 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 25, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Our country is failing. It's not just Santa Clara County. We definirtely need to make our country great again, but I don't see what electing a President who cannot be trusted with secrets, or one that must be babysat like a 4 year old because he doesn't know how to do his job has to do with this.

The people in power instead of growing and nurturing the economy are shutting it down and exporting it abroad to direct all the money upward to an elite militant group of global capitalists who don't really care about countries or people, just how much money they can steal to impress each other and invent more hoops to get government to jump through for them.

[Portion removed; off topic.]

I wonder how much of all this rent money is ending up where? In the pockets of foreign investors, in the pockets of anonyous political donors to do nothing about it, in the pockets of the people who bought up all the housing when they made money in the stock market in Silicon Valley? Now people work in Silicon Valley and the majority think they make good money, but how much of their pay goes .... ??? where ??? ... to their bosses?


12 people like this
Posted by Unemployment rate
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 25, 2018 at 9:52 pm

Unemployment is very low. Housing is virtually unavailable. I recommend not moving here.

It’s clear San Francisco attracts new persons each year with the homeless industry. These are not San Franciscans who have been laid off, hit hard times, have no friends, no family. They are individuals who choose not to work legitimately, want to live an alternative lifestyle of living on the street and hanging out, getting benefits. Panhandling is NOT necessary, but a choice and not ok for society. Smashing car windiws is a crime and nit necessary for survival.

For those who don’t meet the above description of (vagrants, ex-cons, illegal aliens, refuse to be drug/alcohol free in a shelter), then there ARE charitable and government benefit services to help you get back on your feet. But rather like places such as Santa Barbara, this place, Palo Alto, is not wise to choose as there is a high cost of living here.
There are plenty of reasonable metro areas- how about Houston?


11 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 25, 2018 at 10:14 pm

What have we done to draw people to an area that they will not find a job in or a place to live. There are a lot of organizations that encourage young people to come here. We should be encouraging the young people to stay at their homes, finish school and then focus on getting a job. I grew up in LA and we all knew what was expected - we had to finish school, go to college, and then get a job. What are people saying to young people to let them think that they will get any where without the initial effort on their part to first accomplish all of the tried and true goals for young people.


Like this comment
Posted by Drama
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 25, 2018 at 11:11 pm

[Post removed; off topic.]


14 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 25, 2018 at 11:57 pm

[Post removed; off topic.]


8 people like this
Posted by A Big Mistake...
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 26, 2018 at 7:40 am

[Post removed; off topic.]





2 people like this
Posted by 3rd & 33rd... world
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 26, 2018 at 8:31 am

[Post removed; off topic.]


11 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 26, 2018 at 9:40 am

[Portion removed.]

Children - Mexico City is the biggest and oldest city on the North American Continent. If you look at Expedia - travel site you will see that it has all of the amenities of any major European City. The coast lines are filled with resorts for tourists that equate to jobs. And yet people send their children across the deserts alone or with coyotes to the border instead of any major city within the country. A new political party is in power that recognizes the problem and is trying to fix it. The problem is at the origin and we are not required to solve every countries problems. They have to do that. It is not DT's fault that the parents do this.

[Portion removed.]

Silicon Valley tells us every day that there are no lower level jobs or housing yet people encourage others to come here. And you all want to think that DT, who has been in position for 1 year is the reason that this is happening.
SORRY - you cannot sell that position - The D party is going to have to come up with actual solutions vs trying to off load blame. And no - Socialism is not the answer.


10 people like this
Posted by 3rd & 33rd... world
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 26, 2018 at 10:20 am

News Report: "skyrocketing numbers of homeless youth in the South Bay"

@resident response : "what about some other places, you know - they have brown people in Mexico and black people in Africa?" (readers should have seen the removed portion!)

That is some pathetic response. Extra points for blaming "others" as Socialists. Congrats, you earned your Alex Jones points for the day.


What about the children?

Do you care? (yes, we know your answer: "Socialism!)


8 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 26, 2018 at 10:36 am

3 and 33 - you have such a way of taking actual factual data that is available on Wikipedia, PBS, and the SFC Associated Press downloads and flipping it and downgrading the response. This is about the children - each country needs to work on their educational responsibilities to keep the children growing within their own countries and within their own families. And no - socialism is not the answer. Governance within each country is the problem and each country needs to fix it. So what are you doing to fix it?. Great focus on the school systems to try and keep the children moving forward to graduation and further devlopment. If you read the whole article you have lots of people living in motor homes who have no job. What is drawing them to this location if there is no work for them? Who is selling what to these people?


8 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 10:45 am

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Drama
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 10:49 am

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 11:05 am

[Portion removed.]

As for the youth homelessness issue, if the county cannot be counted on to adequately provide or assist these minors, perhaps it is up to the more affluent Silicon Valley companies to get involved via fundraisers & perhaps the development of a non-profit organization to alleviate this unfortunate situation.

And when I say 'non-profit organization', I mean one where 90% of its proceeds go towards helping those in need...not 90% in administrative salaries and/or executive luncheons/banquets.

Volunteer staffing + a basic/minimal salary for an Executive Director would be clearly indicative of the organization's commitment to the cause.




2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 11:07 am

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 11:14 am

R. Davis, I submit that this youth problems, homeless problem and a lot of
other issues are political because they result from systemic rejection of local
and national democracy ... and that is why these problems not only do not
get fixed, they get worse and will get worse in the future until people's rights
are dealt with fairly ... AND WITHOUT CENSORSHIP in a calm, rational, fact-
based forum, which is what PAO intimates this is.

[Portion removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Unemployment rate
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 26, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Choose to have the number of children that makes sense for your situation and understand you will need to support them. It is irresponsible to assume random others will do this.


5 people like this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 12:54 pm

QUOTE: ... and that is why these problems not only do not get fixed, they get worse and will get worse in the future until people's rights are dealt with fairly

An excellent point. I recall a lower division Sociology course where the professor once lectured that various a social issue/inequity is not considered a 'social problem' until there is widespread recognition & acknowledgment of it.

In a nutshell, that has often been the history of our country when it comes to initiating progressive changes and improvements.

And yes, it is the overall responsibility of our elected representatives (as well as the judicial system) to ensure a perpetual democracy for all as per the US Constitution.


2 people like this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 12:59 pm

There should be an 'edit/preview' function here...when I rewrote that particular sentence going from plural to singular, I forgot to take out the 'various'. *L*


3 people like this
Posted by Some Things Will Never Change
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:18 pm

"and that is why these problems not only do not get fixed, they get worse and will get worse in the future until people's rights are dealt with fairly ..."

Amen to that brother.

Sometimes I get the feeling that many of our elected officials are preoccupied with other issues that offer higher rewards to their careers and standing.

Unfortunate that an overall sense of humanity often tends to take a back seat to matters like development projects and re-election campaigns.

Some leaders should be setting a better example.


3 people like this
Posted by M. Ross
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 26, 2018 at 4:44 pm


I was, like surely many were, saddened and dismayed to read about youth homelessness in Wednesday’s PA Online. I am writing to say that, as Palo Altan’s we can (and must) take steps, however small, to help resolve this crisis. We are not, certainly, a community based on the dehumanizing exclusionist language used by our president. We can, I propose, do more to open up our space to temporary shelter (such as mobile homes) as a small step in support of these families. Their life is a very far cry from our own ultra-comfortable existence.
I propose, for example, to use available residential street space more effectively and I would welcome the opportunity to provide utility hookup to my own, if that could be practical and helpful as a short term aid. Others should take similar steps as they see fit.
In the near term, I support increased transit and development as this allows freer movement and may shorten daily travel, thereby reducing congestion.
We should not, as a community, fall back to hands-off ‘it’s not my problem’ thoughts. It is not inconsistent to keep strong community-mindedness and still maintain the strong ‘on-the-frontier’ individuality that drives many of us to strive for success.


7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 26, 2018 at 6:09 pm

What is taking place right now with parents of children making them cross the desert is what is de-humanizing. Each country needs to take care of their citizens and put the protections in to do that. Each country has to govern themselves to today's standards.

As to the suggestion of using residential street space for random people parking is not acceptable to me. There is space available on the east side of 101 in the business district which should be used. And Portable potties can be provided to that end. The city needs to create a formal response and provide for that vs random parking all over the city. Please do not make assumptions about resolutions which affect more than your household. Not your decision to make. Churches are providing some parking space.


1 person likes this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 9:04 pm

> I was horrified to see all the RV's parked practically solid against fence the RR tracks. They went on for MILES.

> As to the suggestion of using residential street space for random people parking is not acceptable to me. There is space available on the east side of 101...

The ones with RVs are amongst the fortunate of the homeless. At least they have a place to sleep at night along with some personal privacy.

I can understand some PA residents not wanting these RVs lined along their streets as it tends to be a visual eyesore, obstructs visibility when pulling out of one's driveway and lowers perceived property valuations.

That said. It is time for our so-called elected officials to do something about it rather than catering to big-wig developers & their associated dollar signs.

My suggestion is to open up Moffett Field in Mountain View for these RV dwellers as the facility is no longer an official Navy base, there is plenty of available space + viable options for the establishment of various community services facilities to serve the additional needs of the 'RV homeless'. These could include anything from satellite EDD/Social Security/Welfare offices, food bank assistance, county mobile medical/dental services, a commissary/drug store, and even a barber shop/hair salon.

In essence, it would be a community of its own subsidized by participating cities that want these vehicles off their streets. Shuttle service into town (or shopping centers) could also be provided in order to curtail the disruption & unnecessary movement of countless motorhomes which could create an ongoing traffic problem within the grounds.

As far as policing the site...use reserve officers on an assigned basis and allow the residents to elect their own community leaders.

Would something like this work?



3 people like this
Posted by Unemployment rate
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 26, 2018 at 10:35 pm

Most of Moffett Field is mostly leased by Google in a sweetheart deal; I believe among other things the co-founders keep their twin 767s and a MiG aircraft there. They test their autonomous cars. They have approved plans for more buildings ...all for Google. They provide luxury cafeteria food for free to their employees, not patronizing the cafes and restaurants of Mountain View and Sunnyvale. Today news reports are that San Francisco is pondering the idea to somehow require any new tech buildings of that ilk (conglomerates like Google, Amazon, fB, Twitter) to NOT build these fancy cafeterias; my bet is this measure won’t happen. Restaurants, esp. lunch places, are suffering near these current company locations in SF, according to news reports.


7 people like this
Posted by Google This...Google That
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 10:52 pm

Google is way too omnipotent in Mountain View. They seem to have an impact on everything...kind of sickening.


7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 27, 2018 at 9:35 am

I suspect that residences in Crescent Park did not buy their properties so that they could be art of a trailer park. Likewise all sections of the city are going through extensive beautification of their front properties which is a very costly and time consuming job. We have many people in my area that have construction in process to upgrade their properties. So we have construction effort underway, landscaping under way. And now a string of cars going through because some computer told them to do that. How about at least 15 cars going down the street blocking the entrance to the cross street. All because a computer told them to. That is another head scratcher. Add to that the road blocks that are in process which is slowing traffic. I have talked to the police department and motor homes are not allowed to be parked on residential R-1 sections. They are on El Camino because that is a state managed street vs a residential R-1 street. It is zoned for commercial use. So get straight on what is - and what is not allowed. There are a number of motor homes on the east side of 101 in the commercial area. If any non-profit or church related group is telling you different then they are wrong. They are welcome to host RV's on their own property and their insurance needs to reflect that the property is covered for that activity.


Like this comment
Posted by RV & Homeless
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2018 at 9:51 am

>>>I have talked to the police department and motor homes are not allowed to be parked on residential R-1 sections.

Is it OK for me & a couple of other homeless RV owners to park in a PA neighbor's front driveway if we have his permission?

It is in a nice neighborhood & he has offered to do so in an effort to lessen the clutter of RVs along the streets.


1 person likes this
Posted by Google = ugh
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 27, 2018 at 10:00 am

"Google is way too omnipotent in Mountain View. They seem to have an impact on everything...kind of sickening."

Including real estate prices and monthly rent in Mountain View.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 27, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Whole neighborhoods are affected when a RV is parked on a street in a R-1 residential neighborhood. No one resident has a right to allocate street space to an RV which is against the city code. I suspect that said neighbor will be confronted concerning activity that is against the requirements of the city. The city has a requirement to deal with this situation and allocate space in some predetermined location for the RV's. At this point in time it is El Camino in the downtown area. The city should allocate space in a designated location and provide porta-poties.
A big problem is human waste and garbage. No residential area needs to deal with that. It is unsanitary. East of 101 has RV's at the end of San Antonia where there is a bathroom as part of the Bayshore walk-way. RV's need to have access to bathrooms and a location for garbage dumping.


2 people like this
Posted by Ocean View
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 27, 2018 at 12:26 pm

"Is it OK for me & a couple of other homeless RV owners to park in a PA neighbor's front driveway if we have his permission?"

Why not? It's private property and there is no homeowner's association like at condominiums.

I'm thinking of doing the same...just to tick off a couple of irritating neighbors who keep bragging about how much their homes are worth. It might even dissuade some potential buyers from overseas along with the accompanying real estate agents who tend to proliferate our neighborhood from time to time.

Might even add a couple of green porta-potties (like they do at various remodeling sites). With the front lawn being 1/2 dead, folks can set out their EZ chairs and enjoy small park-like experience all to themselves.

My parents left me this old Eichler and I used to rent it out. Too much bother and besides...I reside in Aptos now.


1 person likes this
Posted by Julienne
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 27, 2018 at 12:59 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


1 person likes this
Posted by You're Welcome to Stay
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 28, 2018 at 2:26 pm

>> Is it OK for me & a couple of other homeless RV owners to park in a PA neighbor's front driveway if we have his permission?

Yes. And if it is a large circular driveway or has access to the back of the house, you can accommodate even more vehicles.

It's called private property and the neighbors can't do jack unless the RV dwellers are disturbing the peace.


5 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 29, 2018 at 1:12 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by @Sactimonious Poster
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 29, 2018 at 1:28 pm

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 29, 2018 at 1:49 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by @Sanctimonious Poster
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 29, 2018 at 2:30 pm

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by 3rd & 33rd... world
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 29, 2018 at 2:38 pm

[Post removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Get Rich Quick Off the Homeless
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 29, 2018 at 3:09 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


2 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 29, 2018 at 3:14 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

And Silicon Valley real estate grew the most of any area in the US, up 25% last QUARTER. Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 30, 2018 at 11:17 am

[Portion removed.] Most home owners have a mortgage and home insurance which comes with an expectation that the home will be protected. If RV's are crowding the driveway and preventing any safety equipment - fire and ambulance - then the home owner has no fall back for the results. [Portion removed.]

What we have on our street is the over flow parking from companies and organizations of both employees and visitors. [Portion removed.]

So back to the topic at hand is that we pay taxes to the government and vote for people who are suppose to manage the unintended consequences of their political positions. There are agencies that are suppose to help with children so get those children into those agencies. And the PACC should be coordinating a location for RV's - overflow from El Camino that is not impacting residential streets. Every agency out there is pointing at California and our locations for receipt of homeless people and we have the highest tax rate and not even any homes for our teachers and security people. Go figure.
Note to viewer I thought I was in one residential area based on real estate mailers but joined the Neighborhood organization that fine tuned where people live.


Like this comment
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2018 at 12:20 pm

QUOTE: And Silicon Valley real estate grew the most of any area in the US, up 25% last QUARTER

I read somewhere that RV rentals are also up 25% (over last year).

Coincidence?


16 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Resident of Adobe-Meadow, on what basis do you just naturally assume anyone who floats the idea of helping, or talks about helping themselves is somehow a necessary target for condescension of the assumption that they are stupid or ironically enough do not understand their social responsibilities. [Portion removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 30, 2018 at 3:28 pm

[Portion removed.] Big difference between being an activist and actually governing a city. Activism and governance are two separate functions. I am pointing out the pitfalls of random activity which has no coordination with the city and requesting that the city take action and do the responsible actions required to fix the problem. [Portion removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Esther Granderson
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 30, 2018 at 3:38 pm

Maybe some of the Palo Alto residents who are against RVs lining their streets would be more tolerant of them if the majority of these RVs weren't so darn crappy-looking.

A modern, well-maintained RV is not an eyesore but most of the ones I see while driving through Palo Alto and other neighborhoods are usually dilapidated rust buckets that probably should be towed away to some junkyard.




19 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2018 at 9:40 pm

[Post removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 7:50 am

I have to agree that the "Censor" is picking and choosing what to print based on their own political stance and the political stance of who ever is funding the Weekly. Pointing to the "CITY" to take some action gets deleted - too embarrassing to the city leaders. Specific complaints of public disregard for the basic actions of picking up their own trash has been deleted. Those are comments you will see in the major papers if they are directed at the opposing political party with glee. It must be pointed out to the local papers that what ever mess is created must be attributed to the opposing party instead of the actual city employees who are responsible for making the decisions concerning the running of a city. So much for "Journalism".

Moderator's Note: Comments are removed or edited because of their uncivil or disrespectful tone, not because of the point of view expressed or the embarrassment that might result.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:18 am

Let's note here that the major in flow of funding for any major or minor paper is the Real Estate Section. Our local RE guru's are on TV and everywhere. If you are selling a house any where in the city - north to south - they will come in and bring the house up to spec and make it presentable. That includes the houses in north PA that have been there forever and need a lot of work for mold and termites - and need to be brought up to code to sell. As pictures are taken of the street scene for these homes there is no RV evident. Because that is a sign that something is wrong with the city management. People are buying a location and well run city. So journalism is dependent on financing for the paper that is telling a story. Loss to the new buyer who buys a home and then finds out that what was sold is not what is going on. I am surprised that the RE industry which is funding most of the papers is not applying pressure to the city - which benefits from the sale of homes which increases the property tax value to current market value and update of residential areas to current code. The person you see on TV is not selling a third world city. Nor is the PACC which harangues over amount of housing vs commercial use. So the city needs to get it's act together and RE world needs to exert some pressure to keep the city moving forward to compete with other cities on the peninsula.


1 person likes this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:50 am

@resident

You made some good points but that's asking a lot of the local real estate industry & its representatives.

RE is a 'turn & burn' operation. The agents are only concerned about their lucrative commissions & next year's Mercedes Benz model.


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 11:28 am

One local salesman is everywhere - spending a lot of money on booklets and sales pitches on TV for the beautiful, residential homes in PA. And you will note that south PA which I assume you thought was the dumping ground is grooming itself and selling homes that have been given the treatment to make them highly desirable. The bottom line for most is the school system (?) - another area that is getting a lot of negative press due to poor management. So what are we selling here? MV has Google, MP has FB and further up the chain is the smaller companies. SU is it's own entity and is only a drawing card for a limited number of people since most of the highly paid live on campus in beautiful homes. Not interested in the "progressive" slant of some on the PACC since the progressive city of SF is now a dog pile. Huge amounts of money allocated to fix a problem that just gets worse. We do not want to be SF or SJ - that is not our job here.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2018 at 12:46 am

There is extreme income inequality in this country. The U.S. needs to learn from other countries where there is little homelessness and where there is universal health and dental care.
A baby born in the U.S. should not automatically be an American citizen unless one of the parents is already a citizen. Illegals come in and have babies in the U.S. taking up more resources.
Older people immigrate too easily into this country because of their adult children with working visas or permanent residents. The parents are able to get social welfare easily without ever having to work in the U.S. or give back to society. Their adult kids can be crazy rich from their high tech corporate jobs, but they claim their parents are dirt poor to get them on social welfare. The adult kids don't want to pay for their parents. This is a slap in the face for U.S. citizens who work like crazy to pay for health care and other bills to survive.
The 1% rich people are doing little to help solve homelessness and health care. Unfortunately, we need a revolution in order for change, but I hope it's a peaceful one.


2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 17, 2018 at 12:54 am

Wow, some politcally biased editor really did a number on most of my posts here.
How about posting your name editor, and why you are deleting my comments ...
specifically, so I can take it up with your boss?


1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 17, 2018 at 1:01 am

> Moderator's Note: Comments are removed or edited because of their uncivil or disrespectful tone, not because of the point of view expressed or the embarrassment that might result.

Sure they are ... as long as disrespectful means disagreeing with the censor's opinion.

But it's a great game to play when you do not take your job seriously ... that is delete
someone until they get mad at the persecution, and then call them disrespectful.

I was here for most of this discussion and the discussion went fine without the censoring,
what the problem was is the censor controlling what is said and deleting ideas he or she
doesn't like ... bet it was a he too.


4 people like this
Posted by Yes!
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 17, 2018 at 8:27 am

>> A baby born in the U.S. should not automatically be an American citizen unless one of the parents is already a citizen. Illegals come in and have babies in the U.S. taking up more resources. Older people immigrate too easily into this country because of their adult children with working visas or permanent residents. The parents are able to get social welfare easily without ever having to work in the U.S. or give back to society. Their adult kids can be crazy rich from their high tech corporate jobs, but they claim their parents are dirt poor to get them on social welfare.


Finally, somebody had to say it. Thumbs-up.


Like this comment
Posted by Cody
a resident of University South
on Sep 17, 2018 at 9:54 am

Here is why youth homelessness is reaching crisis levels:

Web Link

The simple solution is to increase housing production, which in turn means increasing heigh limits. The problem is that the socially concious Bay Area is only progressive when it is built in someone else's backyard.


Like this comment
Posted by Cody
a resident of University South
on Sep 17, 2018 at 10:11 am

"What is propelling this crisis? Greed, greed, and more of the same. Need one say more?"

Greed might be part of it, but unrealistic notions that the clock can be turned back 40 years are the real problem. It's not going to happen. You will never get a certain group of people here to admit that, though.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2018 at 10:45 am

Posted by Cody, a resident of University South

>> Greed might be part of it, but unrealistic notions that the clock can be turned back 40 years are the real problem. It's not going to happen. You will never get a certain group of people here to admit that, though.

The point isn't to try to turn the clock back. The point is to admit that what we have -now-, which is -massive traffic-, is a direct result of what we have been doing for the last 40 years, and continue to do. That massive traffic is not a result of technological necessity, either: we have audio and video conferencing capabilities that greatly reduce the Requirement for everybody to be in Palo Alto.

"Palo Alto", viewed as a corporate Requirement, is so that the top brass can meet with other top brass, go out to lunch/dinner/drinks, and all of them advertise that they are located in "Palo Alto". It is part of the branding process, including the "branding" of their own egos. Why should -I- have to suffer massive traffic because of their egos? Yes, I know, it is all about -power-, and, they have it. But, don't try to tell me it is some kind of moral issue.



9 people like this
Posted by Get a Clue
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 17, 2018 at 1:47 pm

And some people in Palo Alto and Mountain View wonder why there are so many run-down RVs lining the streets.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Posted by Get a Clue, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis

>> And some people in Palo Alto and Mountain View wonder why there are so many run-down RVs lining the streets.

I don't wonder. RVs are the new affordable housing.


Like this comment
Posted by Parked On Park Blvd.
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 17, 2018 at 5:28 pm

>> RVs are the new affordable housing.

Then why do so many PA residents despise them? Are they being self-centered and arrogant in their own way?

Some folks cannot afford anything better and need a safe place to sleep at night.

While I would like to live in an apartment or even share a home, I am grateful to have a roof over my head.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2018 at 5:44 pm

Posted by Parked On Park Blvd., a resident of Ventura

>> >> RVs are the new affordable housing.

>> Then why do so many PA residents despise them?

I've always despised RVs. A basically terrible idea. But, paradoxically, I like them much better when used as actual affordable housing than when they are grinding up over Sonora Pass getting 3 mpg.

Considered as housing, they ignore the cost of the real estate they are consuming, use up parking spaces, create traffic hazards, and destroy the neighborliness of existing neighborhoods. If we are going to use them as semi-permanent affordable housing, we need to designate some land somewhere and build a lot with utility hookups. Where is that land?

If we actually had that land, we could build roomy, comfortable row houses at 30 units/acre.

>> Some folks cannot afford anything better and need a safe place to sleep at night. While I would like to live in an apartment or even share a home, I am grateful to have a roof over my head.

I understand your necessity, but, please understand that it comes at a cost to a lot of other people and doesn't "scale".


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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