East Palo Alto to tow RVs and expand housing options | July 15, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 15, 2022

East Palo Alto to tow RVs and expand housing options

City Council adopts a resolution to help housed and unhoused residents better coexist

by Aliana Mediratta

After moving to East Palo Alto in December 2020, Christopher Kao took to running on the Bay Trail as a way to exercise and meet neighbors as he familiarized himself with his new community. To avoid ongoing construction on Bay Road, Kao accessed the trail from his home on Pulgas Street by using Weeks Street.

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Email Editorial Intern Aliana Mediratta at [email protected]


Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 14, 2022 at 10:20 am

Mondoman is a registered user.

This story touches indirectly on an aspect of local on-street RV camping that saps community support -- the "pollution". Many such RVs are surrounded not just by junk, but by trash strewn about and even hazardous/bodily waste. Photos I have seen of Depression-era "Hooverville" shantytowns by contrast show well-tended, neat (if ramshackle) shacks and plots.

Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 14, 2022 at 10:55 am

eileen is a registered user.

I agree with Mondoman comment above. It's one thing to be unhoused and living in an RV, it's another thing to throw trash around. That shows a complete disregard for your surroundings and neighbors.

Posted by Mark Dinan
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 14, 2022 at 11:13 am

Mark Dinan is a registered user.

I live directly in back of the RVs that were parking on Weeks Street and all of the neighbors are happy to see them go. We have seen drug dealing, prostitution, drive by shooting, assaults, and multiple burglaries of nearby houses committed by the people living in the RVs. This is on top of the human feces and piles of garbage found near the RVs. It is important to note that the RV residents are not from East Palo Alto, and moved here only to take advantage of EPA's lax enforcement. EPA needs to take a firm stand against outside people moving into our community and acting like there are no limits to their bad behavior.

Posted by Stephen Caine
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 14, 2022 at 11:23 am

Stephen Caine is a registered user.

So when will Palo Alto start doing the same?

Posted by Chris Kao
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 14, 2022 at 11:34 am

Chris Kao is a registered user.

Aliana, thank you for taking the time to hear my story and to share it. I just wanted to write an update that very recently the RV's have been relocated and Weeks Street has been mostly cleaned up. There are still some amounts of trash. I do sympathize with people needing a home and I remember in January 2021 I had stopped by the temporary RV Safe Parking site on Bay Road & Clarke and shown some support and talked to Pastor Baines and others involved in that project.

Moving forward, there is still a lot of opportunity for improvement on streets like Weeks in the city. Water often pools there during the rainy season because of a lack of storm drains, which hopefully will get installed when and if the adjacent empty lots on Weeks are developed in the future.

I have been using Weeks multiple times a week ever since the RV clean up, and I have been using it socialize and meet people. Two nights ago I met an elderly asian man who I always see walking on the trails every day. We met in the middle of Weeks Street as we were walking to the Bay Trail, and I got to hear about some of his life stories. It's been really great seeing others using Weeks Street again and its access to one of East Palo Alto's greatest public parks - the San Francisco Bay Trail - makes it a conduit for East Palo Alto residents to socialize and grow closer as a community.

Posted by jhskrh
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 14, 2022 at 12:44 pm

jhskrh is a registered user.

I wonder if the City of Mountain View is aware that starting on July 15, EPA will begin towing oversize vehicles in accordance with the law for the first time since the pandemic began. City of Mountain View DELAYED removing over-sized vehicles to AUGUST, (despite the mandate of the voters) so no doubt we will see an influx coming to MV soon. Continental Circle behind PAMF in Mtn View is worse than ever.

Posted by Optimist Pessimist Realist
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 14, 2022 at 1:47 pm

Optimist Pessimist Realist is a registered user.

It’s be great if RVs move out of here to Mountain View since so many of our influx were from Mountain View. Take responsibility for your own.

Posted by Julia Moss
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 14, 2022 at 2:54 pm

Julia Moss is a registered user.

I like to think of the RVs as modern day covered wagons passing through town.

Some remain while others move on.

And like the early pioneers, many are in search of the promised land.

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jul 14, 2022 at 5:34 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Homelessness has been a thing since before time began. I don't know what the solution IS but I know what it is NOT -- criticizing people for lacking housing is a systemic problem all over the US. The numbers spiked during the 2008 sub prime mortgage fiasco, which led many homebuilders to fold up their tents and learn to be baristas. There has been a measurable increase in lack of housing nationwide since then. When I read in articles like this that say people were given housing vouchers before being forced to move off their piece of asphalt, I know what a voucher means. It means the city and county gave lip service to a growing problem without providing relief. A voucher has limits. First, there's the income limit. Many people who have to choose between housing or a car payment (even if it's just gas and upkeep), most will choose the car expenses, because they can't afford both. Their income is often too high to qualify for section 8, no matter who's handing out the voucher. Then there's the issue of the FMR -- fair market rent. For 2022, the FMR went DOWN in Santa Clara county, despite the soaring cost of rents. All I know for sure is there aren't any decent rentals that fall within the amount HUD will pay toward rent. So there is a delicate balance that homeless people are constantly tipping to one side or the other, but no closer to secure housing. Even if you find a rental that is barely within the rent limit, guess what happens next year. The landlord can raise the rent by 10% and the FMR *never* goes up 10% in any zip code. So BOOM. Homeless again. Somebody -- ANYBODY -- tell me you received the relocation allowance that's part of the Palo Alto ordinances. I don't believe it's enforced. SM County has similar ordinances. We need a national freeze on rent for at least two years. To give the nation 2 years to build more housing, and to allow people to rest for a minute before they are rent-gouged again and forced back onto the streets.

Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2022 at 5:22 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

Unhoused? Don't they have RV's? Who's in charge of assigning PC labels here? Why not just say "street people" like we used to? And "empathy" is not the solution to this community pollution. Mountain View has been trying "empathy", and all it does is attract more community pollution. The real problem is merely that they're here and not "somewhere else".

Posted by Warren Sykes
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 17, 2022 at 10:46 am

Warren Sykes is a registered user.

Not everyone can afford a $3M+ home or an average monthly rent of $3K+.

For many people, it is cost prohibitive to reside in the midpeninsula nowadays and some have ties to the community (including the unhoused/homeless).

Mountain View has done its best to accommodate transient RVs and the 'street people'....Palo Alto had yet to step up the plate in terms of fully addressing this issue.

Posted by Leslie York
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2022 at 5:08 am

Leslie York is a registered user.

Improper disposal of untreated sewage/feces can cause serious public health problems such as the spread of cholera and other diseases.

RV dwellers need a way to properly dispose of their sewage. Proper sanitary facilities can be financed with the local property taxes that the RV dwellers don't pay.

If there's an outbreak of cholera, look no further than the nearest RV encampment.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 19, 2022 at 7:01 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Warren Sykes - et all - stop the comparison's between MV and PA. If you look at a map the two cities are very differnt relative to size, amount of land east of 101 next to the bay, amount of commercial property, amount of space that is not built on. Then there is the tax base of the two cities - totlaly different. MV's taxbase is Google. PA's tax base is limited by SU which runs it's own show.

PA is very limited in the amount of "commercial" property that can be converted due to age. El Camino is the obvious location for upgrade. Otherwise residential property runs from border to border. Houses in South PA are being torn down and replaced by two story homes at a rapid rate.

Bottom line is there is no comparison between the two cities other then they share a border.

And MV is busy being sued by the RV people so what ever they are doing is not without a huge amount of legal strife.

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