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InnVision Clara-Mateo shelter to close

Original post made on Jan 27, 2011

Clara-Mateo Alliance, a shelter in Menlo Park for homeless families and single adults, will be closed, its parent organization, InnVision, announced Wednesday (Jan. 26).

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 27, 2011, 8:59 AM

Comments (32)

Posted by mimi, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 27, 2011 at 10:34 am

One can only hope that the Palo Alto Inn Vision will also close down. Locals are tired of all the drug addicts that come from all surrounding cities to congregate at Inn Vision Palo Alto to loitering and cause trouble. At CVS town and country is where all the Inn Vision drunks go to buy their liquor and they frequent this shopping center to solicit money for their habits. I can't wait until they close down the Palo Alto Inn Vision. I'm tired of all the homeless drug addicts and drunks that are infiltrating Palo Alto thanks to Inn Visions facility opening right smack dab in our city. It's horrible.

Posted by Sueppr, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 27, 2011 at 10:56 am

Mimi - There are also Palo Alto families with young children who have temporary housing at Inn Vision and a very dedicated staff who help them attend and stay in school while their families find stable jobs and housing. There are a lot of good things happening at InnVision. I am sorry that you are only aware of the things you describe. Our community needs InnVision to save others from desperate circumstances. I am very sorry for the women and children who will have to leave Clara Mateo.

Posted by jardins, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I think the closing of this essential shelter and community is awful--couldn't veterans' sports fields and recreational facilities be found elsewhere? To give those facilities priority over the security of families in really tough circumstances is appalling. Shame on the VA Healthcare System!

Posted by tired of the BS, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm


I agree that this is an important facility, but lets not villainize the VA. The property is theirs and is set aside for their needs. I believe the article also said the building was "seismically unstable." I imagine the cost of rebuilding was prohibitive as well.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I agree with mimi. The Opportunity Center, funded and run by InnVision, with subsidies from our own city resources, is a mecca for drunks and druggies. And yes, they do hang out at T&C, as was predicted before this disaster was built.

The apologists for InnVision always like to talk about single moms with kids, because that is cover for what is really going on. To those who want to help such mothers and their kids: Invite them into your homes and churches/temples and take care of them yourselves! But don't use them as political cover in such a cynical way!

Posted by HardWorkingSingleMom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Sure, there are bad apples in every basket, but what about the good ones? I have first hand and personal experience with Clara Mateo and can tell you that I had a full time job, a car and no drug dependencies at all. My daughter and I would have been on the street homeless if not for their services as I did not have $3,000 as a first and security deposit to secure housing for myself and my daughter. To say that InnVision should close entirely is truly an ignorant comment made by someone who obviously does not know and could not appreciate the full spectrum of services that are offered for the "working poor" (and I mean over 40 hours a week lady!). For this single mother with a child Clara Mateo was a God send in a real time of need.

Posted by HardWorkingSingleMom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Dave, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2011 at 3:54 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Willows parent, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm

It's very sad to see this happening and also very sad to see the reactions of people like Dave and mimi who are applauding the fact that veterans and needy families are apparently being turned out onto the street. Dave, good for you, I'm glad you didn't need to take welfare. Others aren't as lucky. Churches and temples do take care of these people, but they are not set up for having people stay there. I wonder what would want you to help take care of single mothers. Nothing, I'm guessing.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm

"Dave, good for you, I'm glad you didn't need to take welfare."

Oh, Willows, we probably "needed" it, but we refused to take it. We scraped by. My Mother cleaned the houses of the better off, and she also worked as a secretary for a local business, part time, and we kids did all the cleaning, and most of the cooking. We kids also worked various odd jobs to bring in income. As teenagers, we worked serious part-time jobs. ALL of our money went into the family fund. My sister wanted a pretty dress, once, for a high school dance, and we all sacrficed for the material. My Mom sewed it.

I don't need a lecture from those who are "sad". Luck does not have much to do with it. My father was unlucky, when he was killed by a drunk driver. Get over it.

Posted by OhMy!, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 27, 2011 at 8:52 pm


Who paid for your college and that of your siblings? Probably our tax dollars through Pell grants, etc. See, we all need help now and again. We are in this life together and seems to me we should try to help each other just a little--at least be understanding of each others' plight--as I am about the loss of your father to a drunk driver. Maybe that is why you are upset with the folks still struggling with alcoholism.

Posted by member, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Dave - The Opportunity Center(OC) was not funded by InnVision. It was designed and built by the Community Working Group and various local donors, most of which are local. While I can appreciate your concerns, I don't feel that all or even most of the individuals who take advantage of the OC are druggies and drunks. While I have not lived my entire life in Palo Alto, I have been here for 25 years, and have witnessed over the last few years a decrease in the amount of panhandlers and homeless individuals in the area. This personal observation, along with the with the recommendations and endorsements from the Palo Alto Police Department and the BID, all point to one thing. That the OC, along with the Peninsula HealthCare Connection and the Downtown Streets Team are all having a positive effect on reducing the number of homeless individuals in the community.

Recent studies have concluded that, contrary to popular belief, that the number one reason for a person to become homeless is not substance abuse, but rather the lack of a personal safety net. In other words, they have for various reason, loss contact with family and friends who could help them through whatever difficult time they are encountering.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2011 at 9:24 pm

"Who paid for your college and that of your siblings?"

My brother served in the military, then got a chance to attend college, eventually becoming an officer through an office-training scholarship. He eventually left the Army, and went to law school, using private loans, which he paid back over about 10 years. My sister went to a small private college, on an academic scholarship, working part time and taking out loans. She paid them all back. I did the same thing at Stanford. No Pell grants, just a lot of hard work and family dedication.

It is much easier to do such things now than it was then. We should not be shedding tears for single mothers. We should be demanding that they raise strong children, with strong family values. If they do, it will work.

Posted by why ?, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 27, 2011 at 9:30 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by OhMy!, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 27, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Oh Dave!

" will work?" What will work? The way you view the world? With everyone as lucky as you to have a strong family unit? Sorry, life is just not like that for the vast majority of humans on this planet.

If you went to Stanford, then consider getting to work helping our economy instead of writing and expressing your anger here. The vast majority of these men and women need and very much want jobs. I know this for SURE.

You are one of the lucky ones, in more ways than one. Education, family--these folks can never hope to have either of those and never had.

You are not better than me and you are not better than the people living at the Opportunity Center. Realize that and think about imparting the knowledge you have gained through your life experiences to those in need. In fact, seems you would be an amazing mentor to some of these single mothers. Do you have one hour a week to help teach them what you have learned first hand from your Mom and family?

Posted by Jeanette, a resident of University South
on Jan 27, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Ok Mimi lets close Innvision but before that happends how about you visiting the Opportunity Center,33 Encina Ave, while you are there talk to the young children who live there. Explain to them how they are not good enough to live in Palo Alto, they do not deserve a good education,healthy meals, a place to celebrate the holidays. While you are there make sure you talk to those who may have a drinking or drug problem. You're right life is far from the norm in Palo Alto, there is no neighborhood park for these children, but they still laugh and play, dance, follow there friends on Facebook. They are kids like all the others in Palo Alto. The main difference is their families ended up there rather than the streets.There are some who live at the "OC" who grew up in Palo Alto I am one of those spent my whole life here. I went to school here preschool through high school, my daughter is currently on the Paly Girl's Varsity Basketball Team, she is getting a good education.

You are right about some people who do have issues with drugs and achohol , yes there are way too many African Americans who fequent the "OC",what do you think will happen if you put these people and families on the streets. What would it be like to ride a bus with a homeless person who has no where to wash their clothes,or take a shower,have a cup of coffee.

Please come by and see the positive side of InnVision, it's not perfect but it is "The Way Home" for many.

Just a little history, Palo Alto has been home to many of different races, cultures and various income. The richest of the rich to the poorest of the poor, what makes this city special is acceptance.My parents bought a house in Midtown in the 50's. As a black kid I did things such as ice skating, theater ,trips to Europe,marching in the Mayfete Parade, attended the Obon Festival every August,went to many barmitzmah and bamitzmam .

What I am trying to convey is palo Alto has always opened there arms to all who somehow ended up here. Let's celebrate what a great city this is and be a model for other cities. Most of all Let us realize how much InnVision helps those in need. Yes it takes time money and most of all support.Stop by it might help you see a more positive view of the many programs offered.

Close your eyes and open your heart, You might surprise yourself.

Posted by mimiwhat, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2011 at 10:12 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Sad, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 28, 2011 at 2:41 am

Dear Dave,

Your mother would not like your tone. It seem as if you are not looking back, there will always be someone out there that had a harder life than you did. You might want to re-educate yourself on what really happened during your upbringing. You do forget there are children here involed, they are going through worse than what you lived through! A child will always be happy in any enviroment you put them in.

I see why you would be mad at a drunk or a drug user. But, there are children involved and who are not blame here, they are being robbed from their childhood as much as you were!

Posted by Well said, Dave., a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 28, 2011 at 6:38 am

Dave, here here!!!

You are right on.

Yours is the true American spirit of hard work, grit, stick-to-it, pride and independence.

We are in a death struggle for these values in our country.

We create societal moral hazards and entice young girls into having babies, believing that the babies are their ticket to a tax-funded life..and then feel sorry for them and their ever growing number of babies as they fall into ever harder times, taking their babies with them. We don't do the logical thing, cut off the enticing spigot, and give babies up for adoption born to birthmothers unable to care for them. This would dry up the never-ending flow of impoverished and homeless babies pretty rapidly, wouldn't it?

Those that were left, after a tragedy that was a true bad luck accident, not a chosen life's path, would have a lot more money available to really help them back on their feet.

I applaud your clear vision. Wanna start a new assistance program with your values called "ClearVision"? I will make the first donation.

Posted by Michele, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I have personal experience with the Opportunity Center. I help a homeless youth who gets medical care there and counseling also. This is one who fell through the cracks and has no family support and is not on any social services. Heaven only knows how many like him live in other kids' garages and cars. The Opportunity Center has been marvelous and I would like to volunteer there when I can do it.

Posted by Mattie, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 28, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Maybe the single moms could look into Birth Control? How unfair to bring a child into a world of shelters, poverty.....birth control is FREE. There is no excuse for the Ignorance of a single woman not using birth

And they continue to make babies one after the other by different fathers. It's disgusting.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:40 pm

"Maybe the single moms could look into Birth Control?"

It is a deeper issue than this. Girls should not have sex, until they are married, and then only if is with their husband, who can hold up his end of the relationship.

I am an atheist, and I don't think Jesus or Allah or Krishna have any direct control over how we encounter this life on this small planet. I think people have only themselves to be accountable to. The universe is way beyond our control, but we still have our ability to control ourselves while we are aware of our own existence.

I reject the idea that women are subject to the control of men. They can exert their own power of denying sex to a man, until that special man wants to form a serious relationship. My own mother never had another man in her life, after my father was killed, because she had a more serious mission, which was to raise her own children to be serious, self-reliant and focused individuals. She succeeded.

Single mothers, and their children, need to be tough-loved out of their pit of self pity. This will not happen until they are deprived of the enhancers, who keep them in the pit

Posted by Mattie, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 28, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Well said Dave, I concur. I'm sickened by these single mothers who keep procreating, abusing the system, freeloading off of hardworking tax payers dollars....try resposibility, accountability, and try GETTING A JOB!

Posted by Jeffrey, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:35 am

Hey, there sure is a problem with the VA in this! The big initiative for that agency is supposed to be "ending homelessness in 5 years". By only having shelters for single veterans, what do they think should happen to wives & husbands & children of vets??? There are entire buildings sitting empty over at VA Menlo Park. Abd what are they going to do with the men who live in the other half of that building? So much for the federal government property promise of being good neighbors!

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 29, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Reading this thread is a little sickening. The "pulled myself up by my bootstraps so everyone else has to as well" attitude is too much. Living in a capitalist society means that there will be poor people who need help. Some of them have made bad decisions, repeatedly & need help. Some truly are victims. Some are people whose circumstances are unknown to us. Corporate bailouts & corporate welfare have been common for years. Helping others in this poor economy is still vitally important. I truly don't want to see these people fall through the cracks. Comments such as Mimi's & Dave's are shortsighted, as they are blinded by their biases, self-righteousness & own experiences. It's too bad - all your energy could've been put to better use.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm

"The "pulled myself up by my bootstraps so everyone else has to as well" attitude is too much"

It is regrettable that the enablers/enhancers are still busy at work, dooming their client-slaves to a life of misery.

Life has so much to offer, yet we continue to see such attitudes.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 29, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Yes, incl attitudes like Dave's. Also, this thread is about a place in Menlo closing. So interesting that Mimi had to make it all about her & Palo Alto. T&C has become snotty enough- I love the leavening that the homeless offer ;-)

Posted by Mimi, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:12 pm

You "love the leavening of the homeless"??? Please! Last time I was at T&C, I was with my daughter, and we witnessed a homeless drunk from Inn Vision pissing in the corner hallway...what's there to love about that sickening sight? Thanks a lot Inn Vision for bringing this sickening element to Palo Alto. Needless to say, that is my LAST visit to T&C with my daughter.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 30, 2011 at 12:11 am

Yes, I think that Palo Alto has gotten to be too big for its britches in many ways, as has T&C. While I spend a lot of time & money there, I'm wary of the pomposity. CVS is a real standout, though - not in a good way, because of how badly it's run & lack of many useful products. Why did you make the thread about you, T&C & your local center, when it's clearly about a place in Menlo, far enough from you that you don't have to worry about it? I decided to cave & respond to your post, but still, the story is clearly about something OTHER than your 'hood.

Posted by Real Talk, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 30, 2011 at 1:24 am

Hey, the thread is getting out of subject. This program is located on federal grounds in which veterans are not taking any part in, only county of san mateo, but since we have incoming active duty from overseas discharging we have to accomadate them. so services will not be available.

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by Willows parent, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 31, 2011 at 10:36 am


Your anger at seeing people help other people is palpable. It must be very hard for you to see others getting help when perhaps there was none available for you. I'm glad the experience made you resilient. I'm sorry it appears to have made you so cold-hearted.

The idea that families in crisis can be "tough loved" into solving their problems unfortunately bears no resemblance to reality. Of course, handouts are not the answer to every problem. But when people need a little help to prevent them from falling into a pit they will not be able to climb out of, I thank God for people who lend a helping hand, and places like the Elsa Segovia Center.

Posted by mimi, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 2, 2011 at 9:14 am

Re: hmmm comment, I don't live in the "hood" but apparently YOU DO! Write only if you have something important to say....

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