Education: Palo Alto schools, including Terman Middle School and Gunn High School. She was working on a bachelor's degree in business and was three classes short when she ran out of money.
Career: Worked as a security guard. Currently works as a "mystery shopper" evaluating retail-business performance and in a focus group. Does not receive public assistance.
Reasons for being on the street: Victim of domestic violence
Where she sleeps: The front seat of her Geo Metro in an area she prefers not be made public
Years living in her vehicle: 2
What she wants people to know: "I really want a job. I have never broken the law, and I don't want to become a criminal. I took care of my dad for six years when he had cancer, so there's a gap in my resume, so people say I'm not hirable. My biggest problem is I don't fit into any categories (for assistance): veteran, have children, criminal, mental illness. I'm not old, sick or pregnant. What's gotten me through is my faith. I go to San Francisco once a month to feed the homeless. You've got to give back. If I make this all about me, then I'm going to be depressed."
Solutions to the issue: "More shelters. We already have laws for dumping garbage or urinating in public. If you don't break the law you shouldn't be treated as a criminal."
Education: Graduate degrees from New York Institute of Technology
Career: Taught Latin and special education, psychology and anthropology. Former faculty member at the New York Institute of Technology and teacher in New York City public schools, missionary in Jamaica with the Peace Corps, garbage man, landscape laborer, carpenter, caretaker for his mother, who had Alzheimer's disease. He's a father and grandfather. He currently gets Social Security and a small pension, tutors and does some writing and editing contract work. He's working with a Stanford student on "Homeless, the Musical."
Reasons for being on the street: Not getting along with his children.
Where he sleeps: The front seat of his 1988 Dodge Spirit. Sometimes on a bench at the Caltrain station because he is developing circulatory problems from not sleeping on a flat surface. Various places in commercial areas near El Camino Real.
Years living in his vehicle: 2
What he wants people to know: "A woman mentioned at the City Council meeting how she lives in her car. She's afraid of shelters. When she can get in her car and lock those four doors, she feels secure. How can you think about taking that away from her? You're going to throw her into a more terrifying existence? Do you really want to take that away from her? What are you thinking? Shelter is the biggest expense if you are money-challenged. I would like to have my own home."
Solutions to the issue: "There should be another circuit like Hotel de Zink. Currently there are only 15 beds and homeless people can stay for only three months in a year."
Age: 67 1/2
Education: Bachelor's degree in physics with enough hours for minors in mathematics, chemistry, engineering and psychology. Started a doctorate degree in physics but dropped out after almost two years. Reads a lot and is the best-read person he knows.
Career: Was a software engineer for nearly 30 years from the late 1970s to 2006; currently lives on Social Security and Medicare. Still looking for work and as a Plan B is working on a software program that hopefully will generate $1,000 or so per month to supplement income.
Reasons for being on the street: A few years ago he lost his six-figure job, and his wife of 22 years died after a four-year illness. Devastated, he ran out of money last July. He's one of the "99ers" -- his unemployment benefits ran out, and he lost his apartment.
Where he sleeps: In his motor home on El Camino Real and near Boulware Park and in commercial areas.
Years living in his vehicle: 1
What he wants people to know: "I've been a resident of Palo Alto for over 35 years, and I've paid my taxes. My wife and I spent something like $750,000 in Palo Alto over the years. I resent the attitude of some that now that I am out of work, living in my vehicle, that I now have less rights than them. Most of us keep a very low profile, do not throw garbage out, do not defecate or urinate in anyone's yards. I and most vehicle dwellers stay at least 100 yards away from any residential housing. I can just get by, but I cannot afford rents around here -- not even the cost of moving my RV into an RV park. I have no criminal record (did a rolling stop through a stop sign once). A criminal record (if the ordinance passes) will make it even harder to find work."
Solutions to the issue: "I do not like living in an RV but ... living in a vehicle, especially one that is large like a van or RV, is a much better solution than any offered or proposed. The proposed ban seems draconian. I believe the ban is not needed, and they already have laws about vehicles staying in residential areas more than three days. I harm no one and would like to just be left alone to solve my living problems."
This story contains 1058 words.
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