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Nonprofits seek to help Palo Alto's vehicle dwellers

Original post made on Aug 6, 2013

When Palo Alto officials passed a law Monday banning vehicle dwelling within city borders, they urged members of the nonprofit community to unite and work with the city on a broad and compassionate solution to the homeless problem. For the InnVision Shelter Network, a nonprofit that provides shelter and support services throughout Silicon Valley, the call to action wasn't necessary.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 6, 2013, 1:19 PM

Comments (33)

Posted by randy albin, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm

affordable housing in palo alto? put on your thinking caps for this. what a waste that the priviledged are making it all their own


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 6, 2013 at 3:59 pm

And if you feel that strongly about it Randy from Mountain View, then by all means lobby your city council to repeal your vehicle dwelling ban that your city has had in place for many years. Urge your local government to pass a six-figure tax increase so your public can help subsidize multiple homeless programs and services. Have Mountain View build another Opportunity Center and homeless drop-in facility close to your downtown area. Employ the homeless as we do in Palo Alto on the Downtown Streets Team. Arrange for a consortium of churches in Mountain View to form a Hotel DeZink program which offers temporary shelter to qualifying individuals. Insist that Mountain View opens a food closet in the middle of your downtown area to provide for the homeless like we have at Waverley & hamilton Street.

You take a very convenient position when your city provides a drop in the bucket compared to what Palo Alto offers and plays host to in terms of homeless outreach and services. And with that we're left to cope with the considerable negative fall-out that comes with this level of tolerance and generosity. And yet you so freely criticize Palo Alto? I guess these expectations fall squarely on the shoulders of those in our city, while you conveniently point fingers and expect nothing from yourselves. How convenient and transparent.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 6, 2013 at 5:14 pm

@ Phil: 2x. Nice job.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 7, 2013 at 12:42 am

There is something we need to recapture in America,
and it's hard to put this in a subtle way,
but when we have all the very nice people doing all the charity work
and helping the needy and the poor, and all the ??? well, jerks, keeping
their money and buying the politicians, influencing the electorate,
buying and directing the media, well, we merely bolster a dysfunctional
system that has the feedback loops going in the wrong way, and it's
no wonder we end up with such a uncharitable and greedy kind of
society that out shouts and steamrolls over everyone else.

What we really need to do is to do what we used to do, even though
it was not the most efficient use of power and money, that is to tax
progressively so the government has the power to stand up to the
largest entities that would threaten it in the name of the people.
So that charities and charitable institutions have something in our
society that shores them up, and incentivizes good behavior and
being civil and nice.

When Americans started to get a glimpse of our whole country as a nation
and realized how bad some things were, we did that we began to try to
learn how to help, as the military industrial complex began to try to
convert the world to democracy. Well, the military industrial complex
failed miserable in Korea, and Viet Nam, even when the sucked enough
blood from our citizens to remove education, health care, oversight
and infrastructure from the equation ... and the war on poverty was not
a great success either. But we ended the war on poverty, but we
redoubled our military industrial complex efforts ... and they are
still learning. They could be getting better, it's hard to tell.

But then when those folks that only respect war and money learned
how to get together and vote themselves tax breaks by scaring everyone
else into thinking the system would collapse without them we went
farther than just dropping the war on poverty, we began a war on poor
people too. Except we sure like to work those poor desperate people,
and call them names if they find they cannot fit into a system so inhuman.

It's like when the nice people who recycle or conserve water do their
best, they enable the people who do not recycle and who waste water.

It is really about time that the American people started to consider the
long term affects of having a few weak people who only think of
themselves driving the policy of a city, or the state or the nation.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 7, 2013 at 12:45 am

If Mountain View has vehicle ban why are there fairly many RV parked around the city?

There is a real monster of an RV almost always parked out by Terminal Ave. and the Shoreline park parking lot on the border of Palo Alto. It doesn't look like it belongs to a homeless person either.


Posted by econo, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Aug 7, 2013 at 11:13 am

in 1983 ,you spent 60 dollars a week on food!!!!!!!!! 60 dollars now would get you 3 days of bread and chips!!!!!!!!!! in 1963 , two dollars and fifty cents was like 10 dollars is today! you think you got money!?


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 7, 2013 at 11:23 am

$60 buys more than bread and chips, what an exaggeration!

For starters, You can buy a full sized roasted chicken (feeds 4 people easily) for $5 at Costco. Fast food? $5 gets you a great fresh burger, fries and a drink at In n Out. Fresh vegetables and fruit from any grocery store....

I could go on....


Posted by danos, a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2013 at 11:39 am

To point out the obvious - not everybody can afford to live in PA. I can't, that's why I live in "another community".

That's just the way it is. If you can't afford the rent or mortgage, you've gotta go somewhere else. You sure as heck don't have the right to cause grief for others by camping out in front of their homes or community centers.


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 7, 2013 at 12:38 pm

>To point out the obvious - not everybody can afford to live in PA. I can't, that's why I live in "another community".

That's just the way it is. If you can't afford the rent or mortgage, you've gotta go somewhere else. You sure as heck don't have the right to cause grief for others by camping out in front of their homes or community centers.

Bingo! Dead on, danos. Thanks for making the obvious point.

Craig


Posted by A giant sucking sound, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

My observation: Mountain View (conveniently) tends not to enforce their vehicle ban in areas close to Palo Alto's border, giving their unhoused folks easier access to the homeless services in Palo Alto.

Actually, many of Mountain View's recent (last five years) development decisions have been very hostile to Palo Alto as well--putting high density housing and retail close to our border without giving adequate consideration to traffic impacts on Palo Alto streets. Our city government should be taking a very close look at how Mountain View is operating on our borders these days.

They push their homeless and traffic impacts here...and attempt to pull our retail dollars there. I'm pretty angry about it. I won't be shopping there any more. I stopped when the new Safeway opened. The new San Antonio Center development is awful...and Mountain View is about to make it bigger. See for Merlone Geier's Phase II plans. The link is in the "Announcements" box on the top right of their web page. Click on "download" for the pdf.
Web Link


Posted by funny, a resident of Stanford
on Aug 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm

A giant sucking sound--thanks for an amusing post

"Actually, many of Mountain View's recent (last five years) development decisions have been very hostile to Palo Alto as well--putting high density housing and retail close to our border without giving adequate consideration to traffic impacts on Palo Alto streets."
And so?? Palo Alto should have absolutely no say in what MV does.

"Our city government should be taking a very close look at how Mountain View is operating on our borders these days."
PA can look all they want--and they will see how development happens in a well run city. PA could learn some lessons from MV.

"and attempt to pull our retail dollars there. '
Duh!!! Every city tries to pull retail dollars into it. Tax revenue.
And considering that there is no real shopping in Palo Alto for everyday items--MV here I come

"The new San Antonio Center development is awful"
I think it is wonderful. A nice sized Safeway. the COunter and more to come. PA should be green with envy. I alwyas encourage people to shop MV


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 7, 2013 at 1:40 pm

"funny" if you do not think cities need to be respectful & cooperative with each other you are not doing much thinking.

there are lots of people who say there should not be housing codes either, or CC&Rs in a condo or townhouse development, or any standards in what someone's front yard looks like, etc. you can talk all you want but there is a reason those things exist, and there is a reason towns need to get along and cooperate. of course palo alto should have a say in what mountain view does, and vice-versa.


Posted by funny, a resident of Stanford
on Aug 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm

CrescentParkAnon--has palo alto ever consulted with MV on what they are doing?
Knowing how things work in PA, do you think MV really wants anyone from PA involved??
PA should have no say whatsoever in what MV does. MV residents elect MV representatives to make decisions--they do not want PA politicians meddling in their affairs.
As an example, look at the shopping center on Charleston near the 101 on ramp in MV. MV decided to build it, it was built. In palo alto, they would still be discussing it.
PA always complains about traffic--all the time, about everything. they are like the little boy that cried wolf.
MV does not need or want PA interference in their affairs. i suppose if PA had their way the San Antonio Center development would not be happening. MV may respect PA, but they do not want or need their advice.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm

We already offer:
-government social services, housing, welfare
-charity through recognized non-profits
-charity through organized religious groups
-individual acts of charity
I am not sure there is a "solution" to the homeless problem
We do have the right to safe access to public spaces that are maintained to the standards of decent public health
Palo Alto must enforce the law. Standing by haplessly while vagrants take over Cubberley Community Center is not to the benefit of Palo Altans.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

One thing Palo Alto and Mountain View officials CAN do is take a look and benchmark the best practices of their neighboring cities. As someone who lives in PA, I feel no "rivalry" whatsoever with MV, that isn't the point.


Posted by funny, a resident of Stanford
on Aug 7, 2013 at 2:33 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Haven, a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm

The Recreational Vehicle

On the brink of its demise china stepped in and bailed out a company that manufactures Recreational vehicles in the USA. RV Sales the previous year flat lined at zero, but the very next year, after China stepped in, sales are reaching 300 million. What does China know that we do not?

The Recreational Vehicle industry is an American invention, born during our days of high leisure, good roads and a desire to forgo indolence. The Recreational Vehicle is the garage Hewlett and Packard would have wanted in their day. China's need for our invention is housing. These are not FEMA trailers. With density problems that far surpass our own, China has discovered the Recreational vehicle...as a cheap, mobile, dockable form of transitional housing. China gets it. California does not. In an age of increasing homelessness in the USA, this country shut down one viable industry that is the very thing it needs right now. The city of Palo Alto just banned parking a vehicle to occupy it as a home for more than 72 hours. This is one of the reasons American business is falling apart. What country destroys the very thing it needs? Worse, what country sells to another the thing needed because it fails to see its own value?


Web Link


Posted by Haven, a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Can We Americans still do great things...?

Web Link


Posted by National problem, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 8, 2013 at 9:14 am

"I am not sure there is a "solution" to the homeless."

When I was girl, there was no chronically homeless problem, because there where public investments in mental health care. Ronald Reagan gave us policy changes that produced the chronically homeless problem virtually overnight.

When we fail to deal with that problem, we also make it difficult for the people who are just down on their luck and need temporary help, because people conflate the two, and the needs are very different.

In the meantime, rigid ideology keeps us locked on the current path instead of able to put our energies to being pragmatic. Another gift from RR.


Posted by Green Gables, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 8, 2013 at 10:19 am

Palo Alto has LOTS of low-income housing; just look at Palo Alto Housing Corporation which manages the 1,000+ units. Mountain View nor any other town around here can say that.


Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 9, 2013 at 10:11 am

Charles Dickens wrote "The law, in its equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges."

We cannot outlaw desperation, but we can outlaw the acts of the desperate, making them even more desperate while we try to hide them away so we don't have to feel guilty about their suffering.

I always felt good about Palo Alto's compassion for the less fortunate by allowing them to fill a basic human need by sleeping in their vehicles when there was no other place to sleep. I don't feel so good about Palo Alto any more. It's a shame.

A society is judged by its treatment of its most vulnerable members. I feel strongly that there should have been another solution. There must have been one, this was just "easier" for those with the power to make the choice.


Posted by NeighborsHelpingNeighbors2013@gmail.com, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 9, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Dear Neighbors,
Most of our current 'homeless' both 'vehicle dwellers & other unhoused folks were Palo Alto residents living in homes or apartments in Palo Alto. Plus, many have jobs but unable to afford rents anywhere in Santa Clara county.  A portion are people who work here and compute from long distances which makes going home nightly impossible. NHN serves Palo Alto residents, too many on our groceries rooster are becoming homeless. These folks are your upper & middle income neighbors.
      Please consider that there are good 'alternative measures' rather than a droconian ordiance which will make the circomstances of your neighbors who are failing horrifyingly worse. WE HAVE SEVERELY INADEQUTE 'SAFETY NET SERVICES'. The gaps and cracks in social services will not happen over night nor will there suddenly be adequte services in 6 mos.

Currently, there is no gap in emergency, temporary or permenant housing that these homeless folks can receive for free or afford because THERE IS NO HOUSING AVAILABLE.
      It is false to believe that right now there are 'shelter beds' for street homeless or car campers. NHN peer counsels many homeless. And there has been NO available beds in quite sometime (except isolated incidents).
There is NO 'motel voucher' program in Santa Clara county. Previsionally, some faith groups have given money for motel stays but it is so little to match the true need for folks in dire circumstances.
Of the 500+ residents in need, housed & unhoused, which NHN provides peer counseling not one of them (even though they quailify) has been approved for public housing unit(s) in Palo Alto. Many of these folks (singles, seniors, couples and families) has submited public housing applications repeatedly (2004-2013).

[Portion removed.]


Posted by Anatole France, a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I'm going to sue Charles Dickens for plagiarism.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 11, 2013 at 12:37 am

JustMe, until that someone is sleeping in their car in front of your house every night. I can't say for certain because I don't know you, but I'm willing to bet you'd sing a different tune.


Posted by boscoli, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 11, 2013 at 6:04 am

Most homeless and car dwellers suffer from mental disorders. Ronald Reagan eliminated government spending on mental illness. As a result, a flood of mentally disturbed people flooded the streets of our country and the homeless population exploded. It's impossible to completely eliminate the homeless problem, but the problem used to be a fraction of what it is now.

Conservatives/libertarians created this crisis, it's their responsibility to fix it.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 11, 2013 at 9:44 am

Boscoli, a good observation, but let's not stop there. Liberals created the dependent, tax ridden, welfare state that we now live. It's their responsibility to fix that too.


Posted by boscoli, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 11, 2013 at 11:45 am

Phill, if you have ever been outside of the US, you would realize that the US is not a welfare state, not even close. You would also realize that our "tax burden" is very light compared to that of most civilized, advanced countries. We certainly do have form of the welfare state, i:e. welfare for big banks and other financial institutions which are allowed to engage in the most irresponsible activities that endanger the entire world, but are bailed out by the tax payers when they get into trouble. We also certainly have a welfare state for the military/Industrial complex, for mercenaries, often no more than government sanctioned death squads, ironically labeled as "contractors".

I repeat my demand of conservatives- you created the mass explosion in the homeless population, now you fix it.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

You watch too many movies Boscoli. I'm sure your next reply will be a laundry list of conspiracy theories, so pare us the drama and histrionics already.

Liberalism has done little more than lowered the bar for society in terms of achievement. It enables, creates entitlements, and produced a generation of citizens relying on public support. In your blind desire to offer support, believing that is the only way for the recipients to achieve success, you sap and drain the very thing that made this country great. Self reliance, pride, and work ethic.

I highly doubt that we will ever agree on this topic or find much common ground. I will continue to have faith in the human spirit that anyone, especially in this country, can find a path to success and prosperity. I believe that people can rise to the level of that expectation. You may continue to believe that the only way for this societal endeavor to be achieved is by allowing government to dictate and determine how that is accomplished, sending a clear message to its citizens that there is no need to be creative and strive for success. We'll cover the tab, no worries. But like most liberals, I'm sure you'll sleep better at night and feel less guilty.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm

No doubt the black helicopter-drone-NSA-license plate reader programs are to blame for the BV situation as well. ;-)


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm

> Liberals created the dependent, tax ridden, welfare state

> You watch too many movies Boscoli.

> No doubt the black helicopter-drone-NSA-license plate reader programs

Come on Editor ... these are not serious comments they are just flame bait? Do your job and delete this kind of deliberately provocative frivolous and disrespectful nonsense.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm

A classic and predictable move CrescentParkAnon, squash and attempt to censor what you don't agree with. Despite your cries for censorship, I still respect your right to express your opinion whether I happen to agree or not. Personally, I would never be so intolerant. No worries though, the truth hurts.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm

First point is opinion. Take out the word Liberal and insert "Democratic Party of the 1930's, 40's, 60's to present" and you have the same statement/opinion---just in fewer words. And btw, I voted for Obama and am hardly concerned, let alone that I actually do agree with the stated opinion.

Second point can be interpreted as a personal comment, but hardly damaging. Flippant at best.

Third point is an obvious attempt at sarcastic humor (indicated by ;-) ) that isn't personal at all.

I was born in SF...so I feel that I can say this...it's a tolerant city until you voice an opinion other than the people who are promoting tolerance. Similar to what is happening on this thread.




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