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Why are there more homeless in Downtown PA

Original post made by Curious, Downtown North, on Oct 17, 2006

Is it just my perception, or does Downtown Palo Alto have much more homeless than other downtowns (Menlo Park, Los Altos, Mountain View), or other Palo Alto shopping areas (Midtown, Charleston, California Ave)?

And if you have the same perception, any conjecture as to why?

Comments (10)

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Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 18, 2006 at 10:04 am

Like any good business the homeless go where the money is. With the new homeless support center nearby it's a win-win situation.

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Posted by claire
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2006 at 1:39 pm

I shop in Los Altos, Mountain View and Menlo Park and Sunnyvale. Nowhere is the homeless/begging problem as bad as in Palo Alto. Other cities don't tolerate begging and is bad for business.

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Posted by k
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 18, 2006 at 1:45 pm

I also shop and get gas in Mountain View and love the new Whole Foods on the Mountain View/Los Altos border! BTW the Trader Joe's in Mountain View does not have in-your-face solicitors like you find at the Menlo Park TJ's.

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Posted by GSB
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 19, 2006 at 9:51 am

Didn't we already do this thread about a month or so ago?

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Posted by naomi
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2006 at 1:02 pm

Yes, we all have talked this subject to death but the problem still exists. How can we clean up Palo Alto....especially University Avenue!

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 19, 2006 at 11:14 pm

It's the Opportunity Center on Encina Avenue that's drawing them. Don't take my word. Ask them. They're coming from all over the state. They'll tell you -- the word's out.

Same thing happened about 10 years ago when All Saints Church began handing out free food -- in a short time we went from a handful of homeless to hundreds, lining up for meals.

The new Homer tunnel is helping them. It shortens the distance between the new shelter and the good panhandling areas. I wouldn't be surprised to see burglaries increase in the south of Forest neighborhood too.

Leave it to do-gooders to screw up a nice town!

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Posted by Jane Doe
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 21, 2006 at 12:30 pm

Palo Alto is a very liberal City that has always been generous to the homeless. Approving the building of the Opportunity Center on Encina Street and building the Homer Tunnel so they can get Downtown is typical of Palo Alto City Council's approach to the homeless.

However, it is now having a detrimental affect as local residents abandon Downtown retail outlets and restaurants in favor of the big box stores in Mountain View and the clean ambiance of Main Street, Los Altos. The homeless have taken over Lytton Plaza and University Avenue, I don't go there anymore.

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Posted by Tom
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 22, 2006 at 7:10 am

When I retire, I am going to become a homeless person during the day and hang out in Palo Alto. What a great partime/retirement job!

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Posted by John
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 26, 2006 at 10:46 am

I think that the homeless population has grown because we are a community that is burdened by the guilt of success. We provide shelter, food as was stated above. We have a comfortable and low crime environment in which they can live. This is a realtively easy place to be homeless. The faces we see on the street are the same year after year. Is our generosity providing sufficent incentive to break this cycle?

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Posted by Carol Gilbert
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2006 at 7:17 pm

We do seem to have more than our share and you're right, some of the same faces hang out everyday making University Avenue trashy. When we first moved here, we foolishly gave cash to some of them. We no longer do. The homeless need to be cared for and encouraged to work toward returning to a place in society. Making panhandling profitable is not the way to do it. Smile, say, "Good day," and keep moving.

A bit more police presence might keep them better behaved too.

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