Town Square

Post a New Topic

Council backs plan for transitional housing near the Baylands

Original post made on Aug 10, 2021

Eager to strike a blow against homelessness, Palo Alto agreed late Monday night to pursue a transitional-housing complex with more than 100 rooms on a San Antonio Road site near the Palo Alto Baylands.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 1:52 AM

Comments (25)

Posted by Not Good Enough
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 10, 2021 at 7:30 am

Not Good Enough is a registered user.

Very happy for the decision about transitional housing. Not so happy about the 3 on council who removed the safe parking item from the consent agenda, enabling the on-going irrational targeting of poor and low income people by a vocal group of Stenvenson House residents.

A couple years ago a group within Stenvenson House (perhaps many of the same people) tried to block La Comida from moving there to use the kitchen for serving meals to low-income seniors. No matter that some there were part of the La Comida lunch program. This group got a petition to council to block La Comida. I mean, who knows what destruction 70-year olds could bring to lunch! The groups prejudice lost and La Comida is a huge success.

Irony and hypocrasy doesn't seem to occur to these Stevenson House people -after all, they are all low-income tenents living in heavily subsidized housing, some of whom eat La Comida meals, and only a lucky Section 8 housing subsidy away from perhaps sleeping in a car, wishing they had a safe place to park at a Church. Yet they got a delay in providing safe parking to people desparetly in need.

Four cars would be parked at the church next door only at night, leaving early in the morning. The parkers are screened in a selection process. The program is successful at other churches in town. These council members fed prejudice rather than further this good program.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2021 at 7:49 am

Bystander is a registered user.

For clarification purposes. Is this proposed housing doing things differently from the Opportunity Center or will it be similar? What are the similarities and what are the differences?

Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 10, 2021 at 9:57 am

Local Resident is a registered user.

Great news on Project Homekey.

In terms of Safe Parking, "Christopher Kan, chair of the safe parking program at the Unitarian Universalist Church, said that instituting background checks will deter some people — including women escaping abuse and undocumented immigrants — from accessing the program."

A valid drivers license is required to participate in this program and California issues licenses to undocumented folks including immigrants. Secondly, all the results of these checks should be confidential and this sounds like a trust issue between the applicant and the case worker so the solution should be communication not skipping the checks.

Posted by Evergreen Park
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 10, 2021 at 12:07 pm

Evergreen Park is a registered user.

Very sorry to hear that the Safe Parking Program was delayed. The Mountain View organization that will be supervising this program is working directly with all individuals who will be participating, and it will oversee security. Additional background checks are not needed, and it amazes me that residents of Stephenson House would assume the worst. It is only 4 RVs at a time. They stay only at night. There will be security. Let's get a grip and get this moving.

Posted by birdie
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 10, 2021 at 12:13 pm

birdie is a registered user.

Given this development, please remove the RVs from our streets.

Posted by Jylouise
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 10, 2021 at 12:32 pm

Jylouise is a registered user.

Really? This is the best we an do? Put the housing for the homeless out in the bay lands where there is no transportation, no place to walk to? Oh but now I remember, this the place where single family homes are high on the list!!
What a shame that the safe parking at the Unitarian Church was put off. 4 cars that could have kept folks (maybe a single woman) safe for a few nights.

Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2021 at 1:21 pm

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

So far, all of this housing....the car parking at the Unitarian Church and the San Antonio housing are in the east-southernmost part of Palo Alto which is also very close to the new Mountain View homeless housing project. Eden Housing is also proposing a 50-unit project in the same area on East Charleston near Piazza's.

As a nearby resident, I have not opposed any of this housing, but I would like to see this kind of housing more fairly and evenly distributed around the community. That would be better for the community and for the residents we are inviting in.

For instance:
-- the YMCA on Ross Road is a single story building on a large lot that could support housing.
-- the CoPA Arts Center has an enormous parcel that is underused and could be used for low-cost housing. Why not, since Council decided to add affordable housing to Cubberley, a south PA arts and community center?

Where are the affordable projects in north PA and midtown? Instead, the former Council closed at least two large north PA inexpensive hotels that served as affordable housing and approved boutique hotel upgrades, displacing hundreds of residents.

With all of this uniquely affordable housing being provided and built in south PA, Cubberley should be redeveloped as a school and community center. We are going to need SERVICES to support all of the housing for people with special needs that is coming.

When did the good comprehensive planners leave city hall? We need to pay better attention to comprehensive planning that incorporates planning for services and infrastructure, including transportation. Single-issue focus on just housing is extremely foolish. It's all about balance.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 10, 2021 at 1:28 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Today SJ Mercury News reported that Santa Clara County has at least 30,000 homeless Web Link some of whom have camped out on Apple land.

I keep wondering when the "leaders" will start addressing the below-minimum wage paid to the gig workers by the big tech supporters who are happily shifting the burden of the homeless to us, the residents, while big tech spents literally hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying to deny the gig workers benefits and a living wage.

Instead, they keep knocking down affordable housing complexes to build "market rate" housing for their well-paid techies. Pay attention to the lack of affordability provisions in the upcoming housing bills SB9 and SB10!

Posted by fajb
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 10, 2021 at 1:29 pm

fajb is a registered user.

As a Senior Resident @ Stevenson House, I'm appalled at my Communities small minded, false "security" paranoia!
I concur and appreciate the thoughtful comments excoriating my neighbors' lack of compassion and common decency.

Posted by tmp
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 10, 2021 at 3:01 pm

tmp is a registered user.

This is ridiculous. How much public land is the city going to take from residents and give to other people for free? We may need this land for something city related one day and we won't be able to use it because it is covered with the homeless shelters.

These people come to Palo Alto from all around and we feed and house them. City taxpayers should not be on the hook to be responsible for them all. Let the people who want to help them raise the funds and house them on their land!

I want my tax dollars to pay for city improvements - to green the city and fight global warming, more parks and open spaces and less pollution. Not all tax dollars have to go to making more people come here. We are crowded enough.

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 10, 2021 at 3:55 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

Put the the chronically and newly unhoused on a former waste water treatment plant ground?! How appalling and stinky. No one else wants to deal with toxic refuse sight for repurpose, so... throw the homeless over there where there are no services, natural shade, out of sight of so-called Palo Alto visionary, progressives not. Well at least the toxic human waste remains are not full of COVID's virus, just humans trying to live barely surviving on our Planet Earth. What about the former WWII radio bldg out on the Bay Land??? At least it's not a toxic wast dump site.

Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 10, 2021 at 6:50 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

Consider+your+op - The low-income housing in "north" Palo Alto are found on; it use to be called Palo Alto Housing Corporation.

Alma Place,Barker Hotel, Elm Apartments, Emerson House, Hotel California, Oak Court Apartments, Sheridan Apartments, Webster Wood Apartments.

Posted by Cherjo
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 10, 2021 at 7:04 pm

Cherjo is a registered user.

This will only be a revolving door of ever changing homeless people. Did you miss that a family or person can stay only 6 months and then forced to “Move Along”. I remember when the theme park “Great America” was built on a landfill. The first year they opened I visited and after the first few hours, I spent the rest of the day laying on a bench so ill I couldn’t open my eyes. I didn’t go back for a year and a half. I didn’t want to go, but thought I might be ok if I ate nothing and skipped the rides completely. Well I was sick again, just not as bad. Then a report came out that methane gas was leaching up through the ground from the decomposition below. The lack of humanity here in such a wealthy community is Shameful Shameful

Posted by Phil1
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 10, 2021 at 7:28 pm

Phil1 is a registered user.

Four cars isn't very many. I would suggest that priority be given to families in cars that have children in the Palo Alto school system and that they be allowed to stay for the duration of the school year.

Posted by Phil1
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 10, 2021 at 8:11 pm

Phil1 is a registered user.

...adding to my prior post. The library would be a great place for car-dwelling school kids to do their homework, and the park a safe and wholesome place for them to play. It would be especially convenient if the kids attended Hoover, Fairmeadow, JLS or (perhaps with a scholarship) Challenger. If they could use the Unitarian Church's mail for school business, that would likely(?) help them with school residency requirements and paperwork.

Let's face it, these kids would likely be here anyway, but possibly in an inhospitable or unsafe situation. Let's help them grow up safe and well.

In terms of the concerns of the Stevenson House residents. It may be that if they knew there were school children living there it would allay their fears. Additionally, perhaps if the Unitarian Church had a picnic or barbecue, or other shared social introductory and get-together events for Stevenson House Residents, Church members, nearby residents, and these new neighbors they would eventually come to be thought of more as neighbors, friends and fellow community members rather than as 'others' or 'delinquents'.

Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 11, 2021 at 8:36 am

eileen is a registered user.

Phil, all good ideas. I think that the RVs can only be there at night and have to move in the early morning. That is not very suitable for a family.

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 11, 2021 at 9:56 am

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Stepheny
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2021 at 9:57 am

Stepheny is a registered user.

All good points by Phil1. Safe, sane and kind.

As for those extra 100 rooms by the Baylands, what's that old saying "Beggars can't be choosers." Get a job! There are lots of postings. Give something back to the community you want to adopt you.

In places like Minnesota, Oklahoma, they say, "Life doesn't happen accidentally." Pull your weight.

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 11, 2021 at 10:00 am

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 11, 2021 at 10:10 am

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

New or repurposed housing should be mixed use meaning mixed income , senior, multi family, disabled ... why should everything be designated thus segregated. BLM, diversity, equity ... Let's live together and not apart. Multi use / living complex's and its amenities could be designed for a diverse set of residential uses. Our entire Federal / State / Local fair housing laws have to be changed pronto. Especially in light of COVID. Begs the question: what's going on with all the empty commercial blgs -- like the one on the corner of Yale and College. So empty and unused it echos housing !!! So perfect for a temporary unhoused transitional use.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 11, 2021 at 10:10 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Why is the city of PA being hustled by a MV oganization that appears to be making the rules here? Why is the church representative refusing to apply any clearance for the parkers as to safety? This church sits in the middle of a school zone. Why are they allowed to make the rules for a situation that could go out of control in a school zone? Why are non-profit organizations that no one voted for allowed to dictate the use of city property, and city policy?

As to MV the residents voted that there would be no RV's on residentaial streets. A non-profit is challenging that. Why does a non-profit get to dictate to the city and the city residents as to how a city will be run?

A non-profit does not pay taxes. A church does not pay taxes. How do so many people who do not pay taxes get to shout and scream and try to manipulate city policy.
City policy on homeless in proximity to schools should be a state and city policy. Common sense should help dictate city policy. The residents vote and pay taxes here. This is a residential city with homes from border to border and we do not have the same amount of vacant/commercial land that MV does. Different demographices but still a same policy of proximity to schools. Very young children next door to this church. Not good.

Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2021 at 10:32 am

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

To Green Gables,

I should have been more clear. Those are old projects. We have plenty of those in south PA too. Where are the NEW affordable housing projects in those parts of town and what are you doing to help move them forward? It is also true that hundreds of people have been displaced from affordable units in north PA that have been converted to expensive boutique hotels. Where's the balance in in north PA?

I'm supporting new south PA housing opportunities, but I am keenly aware of the lack of similar proposals in these other parts of town.

I would like background checks. I have to submit to background checks to rent an apartment, get a job, get a mortgage, work in classrooms. This is common practice for any number of things these days. It's also prudent at a site that directly connects to senior garden apartments, a school commute pathway to multiple schools, park and library that draws hundreds of children everyday. Safety matters here. Let's do this right so that bad things that might draw opposition don't happen.

Posted by LauraR
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2021 at 8:13 am

LauraR is a registered user.

I just don't understand why this is such a complicated situation. People are living in Palo Alto without paying property taxes. So, why are they allowed to stay?
As far as the objections made suggesting background checks for parking in the church, shame on those who made those objections. I can't help wondering whether the people who are objecting had to submit to background checks before coming here.

Posted by Stelios Karoulis
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2021 at 9:42 am

Stelios Karoulis is a registered user.

Humanitarian relief contingent on a comprehensive and invasive background check is ruthless and cruel...a sign of a cold-hearted community.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 13, 2021 at 1:03 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

So the city of PA and it's residents are expected to relinquish normal safety issues relative to children's school locations to an out-of city non-profit? How does that make sense? Is there some type of pressure being applied at the county level? If so let us know and we will apply pressure against the county agency which may be supporting this. We have known the County and it's representatives to come up with some very un-productive ideas on the topic of homeless - any of which include moving them out of San Jose where the County does it's business. That is so that Google can continue to gut the lower priced areas to build their "village'.
We have a village here and it is run by tax-paying residents who expect the city leaders we elect to function in the best interest of this city. And our schools and children are at the top of the list. That is why we live here and pay high taxes here.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Home brews to home base: Brewing With Brothas aims to open East Palo Alto taproom
By The Peninsula Foodist | 2 comments | 4,008 views

Jumping on a bandwagon that ends up breaking down
By Diana Diamond | 18 comments | 3,697 views

"A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,623 views

Why COP26 matters and what to look for
By Sherry Listgarten | 2 comments | 1,367 views