Vehicle dwelling: Harmless or nuisance? Palo Alto Issues, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Aug 5, 2011 at 10:23 am
Vickie Boone sipped her beverage slowly outside Peet's Coffee & Tea on Charleston Road, recalling the day two years ago when she decided to live in her car on Palo Alto's streets. "It was either be hit or be homeless," said Boone, 53, a petite woman with silver hair and a relaxed, friendly demeanor. Related stories:
■ [Web Link The new homeless: laid-off and middle-aged]
■ [Web Link City of Palo Alto dollars being spent on homeless services]
Posted by Expensive to have a home city, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 10:23 am
Thank you, excellent article. I like the registration idea. That way personal choice, as to where to go can be maintained. And I appreciate what Cubberly is doing to help. If lots are offered, there could strict guidelines for curfew, garbage and small fees ( $2 or $3) for services like showers and waste removal. 'Mobile home park lite' with strict regulations on noise and general vagrancy issues.
Posted by Don, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 10:35 am
If the City wants to allow street camping, then it MUST be forbidden in residential areas. The City must provide a place for the campers, and City Hall garage would be a good place. It is supervised, and it will affect the decision-makers, unlike just pushing the problem into someone else's neighborhood.
Posted by "Rita Katrina", a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 11:03 am
NOLA had "homeless" encampments for the FEMA trailers post-Katrina.
Why not learn from that? Surely there must be a place with all this distressed commercial real estate where these folks can park in peace.
For RV dwellers, black and gray water disposal needs to be considered. I have witnessed a car dweller dumping urine into a porta-potty and I'm glad that was done, rather than pouring it into the bushes or gutter. (What IS that odor on Nelson Drive where the north walkway at Cubberley exits? Ever smell the parking strip near the Milk Pail in Mountain View?)
Some compassion for the ever-growing number of formerly housed citizens, please. They bought the American promise and have been screwed by our changing economy.
Posted by Dave, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 11:37 am
Allowing car camping is a double edged sword. Compassion often leads to being taken advantage and an area becomes a health and drug/alcohol problem. Just look at Santa Cruz and the homeless problem they deal with. They invited it and can't stop the invasion.
Posted by Eyes Wide Open, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Here's a sketch of one situation: person doesn't want to even try to live at the Opportunity Center or train for work; enjoys good health and veteran's benefits; has lived well and long as a homeless person in a vehicle in Palo Alto for over 10 years; enjoys the good climate, free libraries, and good will of the residents; able-bodied but finds it unnecessary to work or look for it; no dependents or obligations; having a Thoreauvian existence here, at his Walden, hidden in his van, happy with the 'barest necessities'; made a celebrity by the news media; well-mannered, civilized, and convinced that it is a right to live more or less permanently in a van on the streets of Palo Alto. What's not to like when you live in one of the most attractive communities on the face of the earth, enabled by community activists to maintain your status-quo, enjoying a david-vs-goliath world view and supported by community activists; knowing the city will never force the issue; feeling entitled to benefits with no reponsibilities, and having no ambition for personal change; living this way not by necessity but by choice?
Posted by Spot-Light, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm
To "Eyes Wide Open," you should talk. How do you know so much about the person you speak of? What have you done with your life? I suggest you walk a mile in another person's shoes before you judge them with your ignorance. Your probably one of those beggers in front of Whole Foods seeking hand outs from those who work for a living. A hypocrite no less.
Posted by Tired of it, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm
So unless you live with all the homeless and their antics one should not speak. I live downtown and the stench that comes from trees where they deficate and urinate constatly. The drug use from a lot of them also is horrible. The other reason of not allowing people to overnight is we really don't know who is living in those vans and if they are a threat to anybody. Why don't we open up the area by the redcross or even the opportunity center.
Posted by John, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm
The answer seems so obvious: Develop a registry of those who want to shelter the homeless. Those who register will be responsible for those they take in, including a criminal background check and a bond purchsed for possible liability issues. Also, there will be no car camping, and no net additional parking on the street.
It would seem that this registry would fill up very quickly, since there are so many people sympathetic to the homeless, including the local clergy.
The registry could start right here, on this blog. Please volunteer your name and street address and email address.
Posted by TimH, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm
The ordinance to ban people from living in their cars within Palo Alto is a good idea. Taxpaying residents DO have a right to feel safe and comfortable in and around their homes. Despite the unfortunate circumstances faced by automobile dwellers, the city is correct to enforce laws that suit the legal preference of its citizens. Laws are not sentimental; they are, by design, guidelines for means of enforcement for the greater good of the affected population.
Noble arguments aside, I do not know anyone who would accept someone who decides to park their "home" in front of their home. Please. It's not a Palo Alto issue, it's simply a human issue. For most people, we choose our home (city, house, apartment, etc.) based on individual means and do not expect to live in whichever neighborhood we may choose. At its core, this is the issue of transient people. It is perhaps a harsh reality that growing up in a town like Palo Alto doesnít give a lifelong guarantee to be a personís everlasting home. Living in a car is homeless with a roof and doors. The car is a mobile unit, and can leave just as easily as it arrived.
Posted by Former Teen, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm
During my teens, I lived in my car for a few days so I could escape a drunk, violent, crazy parent. (This parent was eventually institutionalized for several months.) I ended up finding a place to live after 3 nights in my car, but for those three nights I parked my car in places where I could hide. I didn't want to be out on the street where anybody could walk by and see me. Perhaps if my homelessness had lasted longer, I would have become less picky.
But I didn't want to live on the street. I spent those three days looking for a better place to live, and was able to find one in spite of having no money to my name.
Maybe the long-term car-dwellers have just given up on finding another place to reside. I have to admit that I would be really uncomfortable if there was someone living in a car near me now, especially with the hygiene issues.
Posted by Gunn Class of '67, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm
Few homeless choose car camping; most prefer conventional living unavailable to them. There is no resolution in site to national dire economic conditions with no resolution in sight; the few mainstream jobs that exist provide insufficient income to afford even marginal shelter. Car dwelling is the last resort that preserves a sense of control over one's life. I admire this community's resolve to survive; their ambition to better their lives.
To pass an ordinance against all car dwellers melds well-intended but financially challenged folks to addicts, dealers, criminals. Illogical presumption; the latter should be off the street. They are the population who shelters attempt to 'cure' with structured intervention strategies.
As I drive up and down El Camino, I see dozens of commercial/industrial vacant buildings with parking lots. Consider renting those sites until sold providing a safe private place for campers. Screen the occupants, remove the angst of neighbor complaints. Work out bathroom facilities, modest cooking etc. Ditto if Cubberly parking is available.
Enhancing the dignity of a person in crisis does wonders. Solutions will be found.
Posted by Ding, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm
I really like John's idea. There are a lot of compassion in favor of the folks who live in their cars, but not a lot of folks willing to put their home where their mouth is. Please step up! Don't be a hypocrite.
In addition to John's good idea, I propose one where the City of Palo Alto uses some city-owned land to allow "car campers" to park and rest safely. Maybe a city-owned parking lot.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm
Tired of it, could you please pin point the exact location where this urine and feces is, I want to document it. And that goes to everyone.
Mr. Alsman, do you have any photos of the camper out in front of your house with the cone blocking off the street? Everyone please send any photos or documentation to email@example.com regarding the unlawful and disrespectful behavior of car dwellers and the like.
I will compile information in an neat orderly fashion to present to the City.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm
Encampments for the homeless created a lot of problems in the Washington State, when a church decided to allow the homeless to set up camps on their land. People in the city of Bothell and in the church began to complain when it got out of hand. Apparently some of the homeless were drug addicts, registered sex offenders, and people with warrants. I was able to find out a bit more by searching for what the resolution was, and found these new ordinances.
I believe that Bothell may have a bit more space than Palo Alto.
Posted by John, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm
"Actually, I was taken aback by the philosophy or attitude. It is so harsh. These people who live in their cars are not doing this for frivolity. So many of them, most of them, probably, have resorted to this 'last resort' because they are destitute. To me, this policy is mean-spirited. Why not go ahead and search for other alternatives? ... Where has the 'milk of human kindness' that used to be so pervasive in our city gone?" said Tibby Simon, a College Terrace resident."
"Rev. Greg Schaefer, University Church pastor, said he and others in the faith community want to see an alternative to the ordinance that addresses in a more targeted way the complaints the neighbors raise.
"We think there needs to be alternative options for people because it just doesn't make sense to outlaw something without thinking through what (those who live in vehicles) are supposed to do next. Many of the people we're talking about are fortunate enough to have a car to provide shelter during their time of need. If use of that shelter is completely banned, all they would be left with is to sleep in the creek or on the street," he said in an email, emphasizing that he doesn't speak for those who live in their cars and RVs"
Well, are Tibby Simon and Rev. Greg Schaefer, as well as Aram James willing to sign up for the Registry? They can just provide their names, street address and email addresses. I am sure that we can match them up with those in need of their compassion.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm
FYI- This is not a recent problem. Now that it has captured the attention of the newspapers it's been characterized as a result of people falling on hard times. During the dot com boom when businesses could not find employees and jobs were readily available certain neighborhoods were plagued with people living in their cars and motor homes. I attended two meetings in the 90's hosted by the police department and the hope was to adopt a citywide no overnight parking ban. It is unfair to homeowners and businesses to have to deal with people who are living on the streets. I have observed these rundown campers and motor homes in various neighborhoods but it's most disturbing to see these campers parked next to parks where children play. As far as what to do about the problem. Pass the no overnight parking ordinance! If other cities have adopted them why can't Palo Alto?
Posted by Matthew, a resident of Mountain View, on Aug 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm
I'm a taxpaying homeowner off of San Antonio (Paly Class of '89) and have 2 or 3 RV\Campers directly in front of my house or down the street on a regular basis.
Never any problems, they keep an eye on my house. Good folks, and way more functional and integrated into Society than the mentally ill that sleep in bushes and creeks.
All the complaints I'm reading about are already illegal, so it seems to me all that's needed to be done is simply enforce the existing rules against the small amount of people who are causing problems.
Who are we to denounce another person's rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness? This is America, not Stalin's Russia.
Posted by Matthew, a resident of Mountain View, on Aug 5, 2011 at 6:30 pm
I own property on Fayette Drive. Matthew is my real name of course. I already told you I have numerous people that live on my street and directly in front of my property, drive down it if you donít believe me. However, itís a free country and they are free to live as they please. Many of these people you are condemning proudly served our country and Iím honored to have such heroes watch over my property.
I think your requesting such detailed personal information from people is simply to intimidate them and\or make them targets for verbal or physical harassment by others. In fact Iíd go so far as to claim itís extremely dangerous what you are doing, similar to the tactics used by extreme right wing abortion protesters to target doctors. Itís obvious you arenít making any ďregistryĒ to help these people. Itís only to bring harm and silence peoplesí rights. However, I have nothing to fear for my safety. Why do you think that is?
Might I suggest your time is better spent identifying the individuals who are causing the problems for EVERYONE and find a solution for that?
Work with your vehicle bound neighbors to form a type of neighborhood watch to keep out the criminals?
Posted by Les, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 6:40 pm
Palo Alto has been a magnet for homeless people for many years. The environment is attractive due to a generally accepting and tolerant community, as well as the large number of social service and outreach programs operating within the city. These programs have included but are not limited to the Urban Ministry, a predecessor to the Opportunity Center, the food closet at All Saints Church, the Downtown Streets Team, Another Way Program, and the Hotel DeZink, which provides temporary shelter at a number of participating faith-based locations throughout the city.
In addition to these programs, Palo Alto is generally considered a safe city, certainly more so than places like San Francisco or San Jose, especially for those living on the street. Nearby public transportation is also a consideration. The downtown train and bus station is a transit hub of sorts as it provides bus lines both in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. The homeless rely on these public transportation options to not only get around, but also for temporary shelter. The Santa Clara County VTA bus line number 22 is jokingly referred to as the "Hotel 22." It is common for the homeless to ride the bus line during the late night and early morning hours as it completes its round trip to San Jose.
Palo Alto is also for the most part an affluent and generous community. In addition to the other advantages I have pointed out, it is clear that one panhandling would stand a much better chance of collecting more hand-outs in Palo Alto than in most other communities. Clearly that's the case considering the numerous beggars that solicit passersby throughout the downtown area, as well as many intersections adjacent to shopping areas.
I am very sure that all of these resources and outreach programs are run by caring, generous people. The mission is admirable. However, the citizens of Palo Alto have to consider what limits will be placed on their tolerance and generosity. As it stands, Palo Alto is home to far more social service and outreach programs than any other city on the peninsula. We carry the burden of the responsibility, as well as the negative fallout from this condition, in many instances, from homeless people with no history or ties in Palo Alto. One thing for certain, Palo Alto should not feel the least bit guilty about the contributions they have made and continue to make in assisting the less-advantaged.
Reasonable limitations need to implemented, and the ban on car dwelling is a good place to start. Palo Alto is one of the very few cities in the bay area that don't already have a local ordinance prohibiting this behavior. In addition to this making Palo Alto even a stronger magnet for homeless people throughout the region, it only makes sense. This is a health and safety issue that strikes to the heart of our quality of life. Residents should have a reasonable expectation of people not using residential streets as a mobile home park, without any qualification, controls, or standards. Front yards and curbs should not be used as a public toilet or dumping ground for garbage and litter.
Again, Palo Alto provides many great and generous programs to people down and out. There is also a time when that generosity and tolerance begins to be taken advantage of. Now is that time.
Posted by Question, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 7:18 pm
What's the best way to get a "tour" of car dwellers in PA? Can anyone post which street blocks would best illustrate what's happening? My spouse and I are interested in this subject and since we both have to spend a lot of time in PA, we'd like to know more about this issues.
Also, I recall having read about someone who owns a bunch of rattletraps parked on the streets that they rent out. Is this still the case? If so, are the vehicles legally registered? We'd like to check these out, too.
Posted by small business owner, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Aug 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm
I own a small business in south Palo Alto. We have been plagued by a number of old rundown motor home along the street. A while ago, a customer had parked her car in back of one of these motor homes. She walked into the business next door to mine and when she returned to her car she saw a man urinating on the shrubs just a few feet away from her car. The door to his motor home was open. When the woman came back to the shop very shaken, the owner called the police department and the dispatcher said the only thing that could be done is to make a citizenís arrest but only if the person is caught in the act. Needless to say the customer never returned. I also observed that once these old motor homes and vans took up residence on the street all of a sudden graffiti appeared on the walls of several of the commercial buildings. It is a very difficult economy for everyone including small businesses. These are not high tech companies. They are small repair shops, cleaners, etc. It is so unfair to burden small business owners with the mess that comes with people living in their vans and, motor homes.. It is a safety and health issue.
Posted by Frank, a resident of another community, on Aug 6, 2011 at 5:34 am
Let's see. Just purchase a late model used Lexus and park it in front of someone's home on for example Cowper St. Reside in the vehicle and keep it washed on a regular basis. Nothing would be said. Plus it's a heck of a lot cheaper than renting an apartment in Palo Alto.
Posted by daniel, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 6:17 am
These homeless have enough misery in their lives and don't need us to add any. On the other hand, they shouldn't park their vehicles in residential areas right in front of houses, this is unfair to the residents. The City should allow them to park their vehicles overnight in library parking lots and Cubberley community center, for example. This should be contingent on responsible behavior and keeping those area clean.
Posted by Alan Stivers, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 9:48 am
Excellent article. It contains real information about a subject near to us all, but unknown to the vast majority. I have a very limited understanding myself. The last time I volunteered at a shelter I had a conversation with a laid-off engineer and shelter client about our business trips to Japan! The reason we need to take this issue seriously is that none of us are immune to hard times.
Posted by daniel, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 9:59 am
One of the consequences of the crony capitalism we live under is that most people are only a couple of paychecks removed from the street. Therefore, we need to be more tolerant of homeless people, even if it's often unpleasant. Homelessness is often not caused by drug abuse or mental illness, although there's plenty of that to go around, but by the lose of employment. Years of outsourcing, off-shoring and the elimination of the US manufacturing base have swelled the homeless population with middle class professionals who are unable to rejoin a rapidly diminishing job market.
Posted by Spot-Light, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 11:30 am
Not just the vehicle Dwellers Daniel, but all of the homeless should be corralled every night into one location including those who are currently violating the City Municipal Code by living in unfit living situations on private property. That way we can blame all of them when only a few of them disturb the peace and disrespect the area by littering and the like. As they say, it only takes one rotten apple to spoil the cart. I think it better to keep the rotten apples away from the good ones. What do you think Daniel?
Posted by daniel, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 11:54 am
Spot_Light, I assume you were being sarcastic. The majority of homeless shouldn't suffer because of the rotten apples. Obviously, in return for a permission to park overnight in public areas such as library parking and Cubberley, they would have to maintain a high standard of sanitation and respect for the privacy and safety of adjoining neighborhoods, or risk losing the parking privileges. They should not be allowed to park their vehicles for long periods of time in residential neighborhood, certainly not next to houses. I definitely sympathize with CT and others who have to endure this. They didn't cause the problem and they shouldn't be the victims.
Posted by zorina, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm
I think that it is a sign of our times that the haves and the have-nots are coming into closer contact with each other... If something could be done to make it easier for those who have taken the hit from the economy ( or for many other reasons) we will come into a kinder and more harmonious way of life.
Haves-- give a thought to a sudden catastrophe wiping you out!
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm
Come on lets go people, I've been waiting for a full day and no one has sent me any evidence of the offensive acts committed by the vehicle dwellers. You complain, moan and cry about all of these atrocious acts which I want to document and send to the City yet you send me none. Provide some facts or stop your whining, (Don, Dave, Tired of It, Alsman, Eyes wide open, mathew, les, spot-light, former teen, john, daniel, small business owner, they gotta go, TimH, David Pepperdine, Toady, Frank, etc...)
Send evidence to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will compile information in an neat orderly fashion to present to the City.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, 23 hours ago.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm
Phil - "Small Business Owner" already told the story of losing a customer due to a homeless man living in front of Owner's business and urinating in the bushes. "Toady's" solution of residential parking permits is a good one and would solve not only the people living in their vehicle issues, but also the issue of Stanford using College Terrace as a parking lot, Downtown businesses using Professerville and Downtown North as a parking lot, etc.
Having compassion for the homeless does not mean condoning them living in a vehicle in front of your home.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm
Palo Alto Mom,--on a regular basis I get local restaurant workers sleeping in their cars during the middle of the day next to my house. I have no problem with them using my street to park and take a mid-afternoon nap between shifts, for I figure it apart of the cost of being provided with their services. I don't need the local establishments increasing the cost of their food and drink in order to pay for parking permits for those who serve me. I do have a problem with slackers who want to sit around drinking alcohol and using drugs all day while parking and sleeping next to my house. Lets go after the true offenders P.A.M.
P.S. if some V.D. can maintain the respect of the neighborhood, I essentially don't have a problem with it, but I have not come across any and I need the evidence to email@example.com
Posted by Eyes Wide Open, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 6, 2011 at 8:07 pm
Throw out the sarcastic posters, the baiters (passive aggressives) who thrive on pulling posters in, the really uninvolved who want to read good, the self-interested freeloaders, and all these postings amount to this distilled piece of information: this is not going to be solved until someone draws a line in the sand that is fair and reasonable but "sets limits," people!
Posted by Cyclist, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 5:47 am
4:45am riding my bike by cubberly, car parked outside temporary library in full view of Middlefield, I see it every morning. This morning the car door is open and the "resident" is urinating in the parking lot. SWEET!
Posted by svatoid, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 8:05 am
Why is it certain people claim that if you are in favor of the homeless living in cars or helping the homeless you have to volunteer your home to house them? If you do not then you are a "liberal hypocrite". John form College Terrace's sole solution to the problem is a registry of people who can house the homeless. If people are unwilling or unable to house the homeless then they are hypocrites!! End of story. How simple a solution from one of the entitled residents of College Terrace. This is a constant theme we hear from those lacking in compassion for those less fortunate than themselves. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Posted by MidtownMom, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 9:13 am
Do not park on residential streets. It is unnerving to see the RV parked at the end of the street .. not knowing who is in there and what surprises it may hold. We have kids going all over the place, the place needs to "feel" safe to the parents.
I am sorry for the situation the car dwellers are in it .. no on wants to live out of their car if they have a choice. I understand that this could be transient situation for some and some of these are really good people with bad luck .. though, its 'some' .. not all. If there is one rotten apple - its no good.
Park in public parking lots like Cubberley or Safeway or Whole Foods; spend the night and get out of there the first thing in the morning.
Posted by daniel, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 9:27 am
I absolutely agree with svatoid. People who challenge those with compassion for the homeless to house and feed them have a ridiculously simplistic black&white view of a very complex world. They are the same people who urge those opposed to the catastrophic Bush tax cuts to donate their money to the federal government. No one wants a 30 feet camper parked permanently, or even briefly next to their house, but just harassing the homeless amounts to kicking the can down the road so it becomes somebody else's problem. More and more homeless are in this predicament not because of mental illness or substance abuse, but because of an economy that has been hollowed out of jobs due to corporate outsourcing and off-shoring. What kind of people wish to expel them out of sight and out of mind and if that would just make them disappear? We can come up with reasonable solutions such as allowing them to park overnight in public parking areas such as libraries and community centers in return for small fees if possible, and acceptable behavior and sanitation, without absurd challenges to house them.
Posted by Denese, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 9:41 am
What next..... I am sorry, but right now we have day laborers standing on the corners, people sleeping in vehichles and on the side walks in some areas. I feel for these people I really do, but we have to remember the security piece. There are too many kids walking and riding their bikes in Palo to have folks just on the streets. It breaks my heart that folks are having such a hard time but we have to think about the kids/teenager that walk and bike to and from school. One of the main reasons I remain in Palo Alto and pay the high rent is because I feel realitively safe for my children especially my daughter. It is a family community.... and yes we do have problems in our community just like any other community.
There has to be a way to help folks but how do you know if some of these folks are not sex offender.
NO i am not parinoid but concerned more for the kids than the adults.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 9:58 am
Midtown Mom, some good suggestions perhaps, but the problem is neither the Safeway or Whole Foods parking lots are considered public property. They're private property. I'm sure that neither company wishes to become a trailer park for liability reasons alone. Nor would a 24-hour Safeway wish to have their late night shoppers navigating through a parking lot filled with people sleeping in their cars. Let's just say, not the best way of doing business at the very least. As for the community center and library lots, what about the impact on the surrounding residential neighborhoods?
Neighborhood impact issues must be considered as well. In terms of taxpayer cost alone, who is going to pay for and maintain the public sanitation? Who is going to manage when and where people park? I read on this string of articles that some homeless people choose not to go to shelters because they consider them unsafe. What safety issues will arise when the city organizes a mobile shelter of sorts? I recall a homicide several years that took place at one of the churches that participate in the Hotel DeZink program. I believe it was a church on Middlefield Road, not far from Addison School and the Lucie Stern Community Center. In that case, one homeless man killed another over some dispute that took place in the temporary shelter.
If there are issues, even something as simple as not wanting to leave at the designated time, should we expect our police department to handle the fall-out when they're already operating with less staffing and resources.
Palo Alto, both in volunteer and public outreach, already carries the bulk of the burden when it comes to assisting the homeless. We offer far more grass roots and public resources than any city in our region. Palo Alto has nothing to feel guilty about in that regard, and the time has come to put reasonable limits on our generosity and tolerance. We have to be equally respectful of preserving our neighborhoods, and fulfill a homeowners expectation of not having to concern themselves with anyone using the city street as a campground.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 10:09 am
Phil - I totally agree with you. The issue is not whether we have compassion for the homeless, it is a question of having just as much respect for the residents of Palo Alto as the homeless of Palo Alto. Living in your car in front of someone's home is disrespectful. Urinating or defecating outside is disrespectful (and illegal). Living in your RV in front of a business is disrespectful. From personal experience with a homeless family member - many/most of these vehicle dwellers do so by choice. They have family and friends willing to help them, yet they choose (yes, choose) to live in their vehicles. This is certainly their right, but that does not mean we have to let them do so in our city.
svatoid - it is not a question of homeless people attacking our children (although there are some extremely aggressive, vocal homeless downtown). Our children should be able to walk through their own neighborhoods -that their parents have paid a lot to live in - without worrying about the "guy living in the car that I need to walk by".
Posted by svatoid, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 10:22 am
"svatoid - it is not a question of homeless people attacking our children (although there are some extremely aggressive, vocal homeless downtown). Our children should be able to walk through their own neighborhoods -that their parents have paid a lot to live in - without worrying about the "guy living in the car that I need to walk by"."
So because someone happens to be living in a car that makes him/her a criminal/child molester/abuser etc. Seems to me you, like others, are quick to demonize the homeless.
This is an issue that needs to be dealt with. Those that urinate in public should be dealt with by the police. But also remember that the streets outside our homes are public property--available for all to use
Posted by daniel, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 10:23 am
Denese, by far, the greatest danger to kids in Palo Alto is caused by speeding vehicles, frequently operated by drivers who schmooze and text on their cellphones while paying scant attention to the road. When was the last time a child was harmed by a homeless person in Palo Alto? Unruly, heavy traffic is infinitesimally more dangerous, more intrusive, more polluting and more quality-of-life degrading than some poor souls living in their vehicles.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:10 am
To Svatoid, you're right, the public streets are there for everyone to use, but in a manner that is reasonable. Allowing people to use the public streets as a campground is not and never will be considered reasonable. Having a condition that would encourage or necessitate anyone having to urinate or dispose of human waste in public is not acceptable either. A reasonable solution is not just expecting the police to deal with it. The police are already working with depleted staffing and resources.
As for someone living in a car being more likely to be a child molester, no, I do not believe that either. I do however believe that many people living on the street, a disproportionate number, do have either criminal backgrounds, have substance abuse issues, or dealing with mental disorders. Families in neighborhoods should not have to concern themselves with who that person might be, and what they've done in the past, or capable of doing in the future. Especially when that person can choose to plant themselves anywhere they wish without standards or controls of any kind. It's just not reasonable.
Posted by TimH, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:13 am
Ok, this is clearly a hot topic! To repeat a portion of an earlier post, taxpaying residents DO have a right to feel safe and comfortable in and around their homes. Despite the unfortunate circumstances faced by automobile dwellers, the city is correct to enforce laws that suit the legal preference of its citizens. Laws are not sentimental; they are, by design, guidelines for means of enforcement for the greater good of the affected population.
It is not Palo Alto's obligation to provide shelter, and the city is not a religious or humanitarian organization. People live in Palo Alto because they can afford to do so; it is not a finance-free environment. Growing up in PA, it was only acceptable to park in front of people's homes to visit a resident or (depending on location) to park for church or Stanford football games. When did it become acceptable to appropriate this space for indefinite time and purpose? This doesnít even need to address the peopleís reasons or their vehicleís appearance.
Perhaps a referendum would answer the question, and let all legal residents vote on the topic.
Posted by svatoid, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:22 am
"Allowing people to use the public streets as a campground is not and never will be considered reasonable."
But for now it is legal in the city. Once again people are throwing around terms that are designed to be inflammatory. A campground suggests that streets are taken over by homeless car dwellers night after night. A single homeless person sleeping in a car on a public street is not a campground.
"I do however believe that many people living on the street, a disproportionate number, do have either criminal backgrounds, have substance abuse issues, or dealing with mental disorders."
if you want to make these kind of inflammatory charges, then you should back it up with facts. Also equating mental illness with criminal behavior is not necessary (unless you are trying to push buttons).
"Growing up in PA, it was only acceptable to park in front of people's homes to visit a resident or (depending on location) to park for church or Stanford football games. When did it become acceptable to appropriate this space for indefinite time and purpose? "
When did this happen? Really, it was uniformly "unacceptable" to use public streets? Why is church or a football game an acceptable, to you, reason to park by someone's home? Sounds to me like a sense of entitlement at play here.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:24 am
svatoid - I didn't say that because someone lives in a car they are a criminal or child molester. I'm not demonizing them, just stating that children are afraid to walk by cars that have people living in them. While our streets are available for all to use, they are streets, not housing. People should not be living in their vehicles on public streets. The police can only deal with the urination, etc. if they actually catch them in the act. I would certainly rather them be doing other things than looking for people peeing in public.
recall - I personally have a family member who has been offered an apartment, a job and/or money to relocate to a place of their choice, they choose to live in their car instead. I have a good friend who has a sibling with similar circumstance that chooses to make a living in an unfortunate, illegal manner instead receiving help from their family.
TImH - thanks, you are correct that we are a City. Our obligation is to take care of our residents and keep them safe. We are not a charity nor a religious organization.
Our streets are for driving, parking for events, parking for work/shopping and parking for our own and our visitors cars. They are not parking lots for Stanford nor are they housing or toilets.
Posted by Linn, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:26 am
How about a system of permits with a cap on the number of car dwellers plus mandatory registration and background check. Also, designated places to park, for example, on the streets and in front of residences of Palo Alto city mayor and other top city officials.
Posted by svatoid, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:29 am
"svatoid - I didn't say that because someone lives in a car they are a criminal or child molester. I'm not demonizing them, just stating that children are afraid to walk by cars that have people living in them. "
Well, you are demonizing them. But why would children be afraid to walk by a car with someone in it? Because their parents have told them that these people are evil/criminals/molesters etc????
"Our streets are for driving, parking for events, parking for work/shopping and parking for our own and our visitors cars. They are not parking lots for Stanford nor are they housing or toilets."
Well for now, the law in PA states that people can sleep in their cars. The streets are available for all to use, as long as they obey the rules--that includes visitors, homeless, Stanford people shoppers etc.
Posted by daniel, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:30 am
"So you're saying they are about the same?" No, I'm saying that traffic is much more dangerous and problematic than some car dwellers. We can have ordinances against car dwellers parking their vehicles on residential street, but they are not going to disappear as a result. Expelling them on to the next town will be just kicking the can down the road, and the next town is just as likely to expel them back to us. The most reasonable thing to do is to regulate their overnight parking on public lots with penalties for bad behavior, and to limit parking on residential streets to two hours for non-residents. We can't solve their problems, but wishing them to go away because their presence is inconvenient and unsettling will not make them go away.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Aug 8, 2011 at 12:42 pm
svatoid, you are, I suspect, being deliberately obtuse. Children w/responsible parents are taught to be wary of strangers, incl strangers in cars. I think it makes a lot of sense for kids to be scared of vehicle dwellers because in a kids' world, people like that ARE scary until proven not to be. That's not demonizing them, that's just the truth.
A lot of people here have written that it's the behavior of the vehicle dwellers, not that they lives in their cars, that is the problem. That also makes perfect sense because the comments criticizing the behavior, by & large, are reasonable criticisms.
There seem to be some pretty doable solutions to this, as there are churches involved, parking lots available to use & tolerance from the City of PA. All of that can equal a decent solution if the city & citizens organize.
Posted by svatoid, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm
"Children w/responsible parents are taught to be wary of strangers, incl strangers in cars."
Then they should be wary of every stranger they see. How does a child know someone sitting in a car is a homeless person? Why single out the homeless? I am not being obtuse, some people are being inflammatory.
"A lot of people here have written that it's the behavior of the vehicle dwellers, not that they lives in their cars, that is the problem. "
You have both--people criticizing the behavior and people criticizing the fact that they live in cars. The homeless issue needs to be addressed--if people, not only homeless, do not behave in a manner consistent with the law they should be cited.
"All of that can equal a decent solution if the city & citizens organize."
I agree. But if the solution that some propose--ban car dwelling and expect people who want to help the homeless house them--then that is not a solution at all
Posted by important, a resident of the Monroe Park neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm
What is the important thing about this situation that we should care about?Is it their behavior,I do not think so,with this,you can pretend not seeing it,no harm is done.How about the potenial danger,what if a parent is not very responsible,do not know how to take care of their kids,will they go out and play with whomever shows the friendly smile.
Posted by South PA Dad, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm
I'm all for helping a neighbor...but this is a vagrant issue.
No question. These folks should be encouraged to find permanent residence. But short of having this in place...I am unwilling to have a car or RV parked on my street because it's a cheap safe place to hang out.
The RV that has been sitting on our block has been there for weeks now. I have no idea why the PAPD allows it. If I park my car for a week I get a ticket and tow warning...this clown parks a 25 foot RV for six months and has all the town fawning over his poor situation.
Posted by KB, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 1:49 pm
Staying a few nights in a car is probably ok, but not anything longer.
Look, I'm sorry you lost your job or whatever, but you don't have a God-given right to live in Palo Alto. Sounds like God is really telling you to move somewhere cheaper.
Providing a common space for vehicle-livers to park isn't a solution. Who decides who gets to park there and who doesn't, and how do they decide?
In any location, there is only a limited amount of space for people to live. In places that are desirable, there will always be more people who want to live there than available space. So how do we decide who gets what space? Currently this is done with money -- you buy a house or condo, or rent one.
Is that fair? That's a good question. Fairer than a lot of other methods, such as the whim of some city employee. When you remember that money is essentially a proxy for value provided to society, then using money to decide is a pretty fair system.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm
svatoid - its pretty easy to see who is living in their vehicle - its full of WAY more stuff than any other car. Check the yellow van that is usually parked/living in the covered shed at the Main Library and you will see what I mean.
People should not be living in vehicles on the Palo Alto streets.
Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm
Question for a Realtor: Disclosures Required of a Seller. One line-item is "Neighborhood noise problems or other nuisances." At what point (proximity, frequency, legality) must curbside vehicle dwellers be disclosed? Is it legal for the Buyer to consider the homeless to be a nuisance?
Posted by Socate, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Aug 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm
"It's mine." "it's mine." "it's mine." Hypocritical selfish crybabies. Everyone of you resides in your vehicle. Everyone one of you knows someone who exists in a vehicle for numerous hours of a day. Everyone one of you knows someone in your own family who's used a bush to relieve themselves in an emergency. Family vacation, "road trip" and little Lucy needs to go. Virtually every day over at Johnson Park some kid has his pants pulled down to his ankles urinating on the big redwood tree.
Public streets are as much the property of the person who resides in his/her vehicle for one hour or for ten hours. I hope the city passes the law, because I'll be out there looking for each and everyone one of you to make sure that you all of you get cited.
"We have a right to be safe."
What the person in the vehicle doesn't?
"We're scared of the big, bad RV man?"
The RV man is neither big, nor bad and he's just as scared of you as you are of him.
"We paid a lot of money for our houses and tons in taxes, so we shouldn't have to look at poverty."
I get it, you all believe that America is solely for the wealthy and the Constitution is going to protect you from having to look at poverty.
You might be correct in that you get your way just as Monsanto can sue its neighbors when Monsanto's seeds blow onto it's neighbors property, (corruption is rampant), however you would be wrong as far as morality goes.
For you to put your pleasures above the necessity of life of a fellow human being reveals that you are so self-centered that it is classified as a mental illness.
Posted by David, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 10:42 am
@ Eyes Wide Open, well said. @ Spot-light, can I park my pos vehicle in front of your house and piss in your front yard every morning? Why does Palo Alto allow this type of activity? And why do we keep building affordable housing in such affluent expensive areas? And how about that guy that parks his 7-8 crap box vans near JJ&F market and up-and-down El Camino. If we let one stay then they will all come. Go park your junk in San Francisco or Santa Cruz.
Posted by daniel, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm
So it's ok for them to park their "junk" in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, as long as they don't park it next to dear little yuppie's house. Let others deal with them, we'll just kick the can down the road. What if San Francisco and Santa Cruz started dumping their car sweller on Palo Alto? What an absolutely selfish, self centered and infantile attitude.
Posted by John, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm
I have no idea why some of my posts were censored, but I will continue to ask:
Who will be the first to sign up for the Registry? All you need to do is demonstrate your compassion for the homeless by agreeing to take one or two of them into your home. If you cannot go that far, will you allow them to park in your driveway, or in front of your house?
Just provide your name and street address and email address. I will make sure to put you into the Registry.
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm
@ common sense:
Thanks for the info. I will pass this along to people that I know.
Unfortunately, rent is so extremely high in Palo Alto that I suspect many vehicle dwellers will have a difficult time affording the $900-1200 "affordable" rent available in the "low income" housing selection for this community.
For someone who makes minimum wage ($16500 per year working full "40 hours/week" time for 52 weeks before taxes), they still might have a difficult time paying rent or making ends meet here in PA. After all, yearly rent at the lowest public-assistance rent tier of $900/month comes to nearly $11,000 per year (plus deposit, water, sewage, electric, etc...).
After federal/state taxes, it is virtually impossible for a full time worker making the newest state-required minimum wage ($8/hr) to survive on that income alone.
Sure, they might afford enough to pay the rent...but they wouldn't be able to eat...pay utility bills...or even afford anything else.
Due to Palo Alto's high cost of living, it may make much fiscal sense for such individuals to simply move out of Palo Alto and live elsewhere. Unfortunately, the more "affordable" communities often are the riskiest and the ones with the least amount of opportunity.
Posted by Palo Alto Resident, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm
I think people who support car dwelling should find a means by which they can make their driveways available for car-dwellers. It seems that there should be more than enough driveways available given the sentiments I've read in these comments. This way, people will be off the street but they will have a place to stay with no worry of police intervention. The city could enact a law banning car dwelling, but it would have no impact on the dwellers as they would no longer have to park on the street.
Posted by In-your-grill, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm
On behalf of Spot-Light, yes, you can park your vehicle adjacent to my house. However for the pissing part, I suggest you go into a bottle like truckers and pilots do. You can then empty it accordingly in a public facility.
Posted by common sense, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 9:37 pm
Some of the affordable housing units are as low as $388/month; some of the affordable housing units charge 30% of the household income. Waiting lists vary by each complex. Hope this can help some of the people living in vehicles find something.
Posted by TimH, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 9, 2011 at 11:17 pm
It's easy to toss up the obtuse opposition, and YES, it's never been acceptable to park for more than 24 hours on a street that did not contain your home, or at least close to that for high-density areas.
Bottom line - living in a car does not qualify as a resident of the area in which the driver chooses to PARK the car. It's easy to toss insults at Palo Altans, but not everyone in the city is wealthy - but all residents do share the trait of having a residential address! There is no inherent right for anyone to live in the city, so why should transient people decide to plant the car on any given street? This isn't a discussion about low-income housing, or false accusations regarding behavior - it's about transient people whose presence is up for civic discussion and status resolution.
Palo Alto council, get the ordinance in place, bring the streets into order, and then everyone can then move on to the next noble cause. Thank you.
Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Aug 11, 2011 at 6:06 pm
I'm not quite sure where in the Constitution does it say that car dwelling is a right of citizenship.
However, I'm pretty sure the Constitution allows local governments to establish regulations restricting overnight camping...which is why every city on the Peninsula (except PA) has a law against camping on their streets. This is not a new frontier.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Aug 11, 2011 at 7:31 pm
In-your-grill: If we have a "Constitutional right to live in the United States" and live wherever we want, including in a vehicle on the street, that means I should have a "Constitutional right" to pitch a tent in Rinconada Park (its public property!!!) build whatever I want on the property I own - (not even public property!!!) I'd like to build a 5 story house, pave my whole lot and include a cottage so my mom can live here too. She doesn't have anywhere to live, therefore she is homeless, therefore that makes her really special and I should be able to house her however she would like!
There are rules about where people can live for a reason - the common safety, health and welfare of the rest of the community.
Posted by Edgarpoet, a resident of Mountain View, on Aug 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm Edgarpoet is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Please write down the license number of that car and just post it here
and when did this happen?
Nobody can really control such people , but rest assured that we car dwellers at cubberly do NOT accept this kind of stuff since there is a portable outhouse right by the baseball field. Give the license number or shut the heck up! OK?
Posted by TimH, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 29, 2011 at 11:51 am
I think that the coming reality will settle this issue.
To Edgarpoet, if you review my posts you will not find any accusation of criminal intent or behavior. I'm sorry about your misfortunes, but your "right" to live on Palo Alto streets is solely at the discretion of the legal residents of the city.
For "in-your-grill", I can only regret your misunderstanding of our country's Constitution. You also need to better learn the differences between federal, state, country and city laws and statutues.
If Palo Altans (yes, that is with whom you are dealing) do not want people who reside in their cars to be in the city, that is the end of this chapter. There is no upside for a neighborhood to feature "extra homes on the block" in the form of automobiles. The truth is that if a person can no longer afford the venue in which they are accustomed, they need to move to suitable environs.
Posted by Edgarpoet, a resident of Mountain View, on Aug 29, 2011 at 1:39 pm Edgarpoet is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
What registry are you refering to ?
The Nazi party registry?
or the Palo Alto bigots registry?
And yes I am willing to climb ladders, install fans, clean gutters,
build fences, install garbage disposals, do electrical work,
stuf that people like you think is only done by the illegals that YOU support, therefore, YOU are the real criminals, because YOU caused the situation that honest hard working people like me now face! Economic discrimination IS not against the Human law,
but it is against the principles of moral and ethical teachings.
Posted by Moral, you ask?, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Aug 30, 2011 at 6:08 am
To Immoral: I have found that there is tremendous confusion around the words "moral" and "immoral".
Somehow, to some, the basics of morality are forgotten, such as not murdering innocents or not stealing from others..or even acknowledging that there is a higher power..but suddenly it is "immoral" to NOT steal from some to "give" to others,( such as private property as parks or streets). It is an amazing twisting of thought into what is moral and what isn't.
Morality is an individual action. If one wishes to help the homeless, the disabled, the ..whoever, that is GREAT. Go for it!! Many of us choose to give time and/or money to our pet projects.
But it is highly immoral to force others to do so if they don't wish to with their money or their property. Be careful if you disagree, the end of that story could be that you give someone else in "govt" the ability to give away your spare couch to a homeless person in order to be "moral" as a society. Afer all, by your definition of morality, it would then be "immoral" to have a roof over your head and space for someone to sleep in when someone else has no roof.
Posted by edgarpoet, a resident of Mountain View, on Sep 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm edgarpoet is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Economic discrimination refers to wages earned for labor received.
It does NOT refer to pricing of various products.
Economic discrimination is used in our society to force the unwanted
into areas that the wealthy would rater not exist in. Areas ladden with gangs, drive by shootings, graffiti everywhere, etc.
Now , that I have defined that for you, Morality is something that most Americans have no real concept of, for if we practiced Morality there would be very little homelessness, AND our prisons would be virtually empty..............Think About it!
Posted by me, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 21, 2011 at 11:46 pm
To those that have compassion on here, thank you very much. I currently live in an RV. I have a job (I work 6 days a week). I have had a job since I was 16 years old. By no means am I a lazy person. I was not born into wealth or affluence. I worked a full time job as an engineer, I worked a part time job as a telecommunications lab manager at the same time, and I also put myself through school. I currently owe about 120 thousand dollars in school loans. I can't afford to pay the gas that it would take to commute from my parents house which is 4 hours away. I am a clean person. I go to the gym and shower every day. I have never stolen or cheated my fellow man. I do not have a drug or alcohol problem. I am just trying to get by. A studio apartment in palo alto costs about 1300 per month plus utilities. I'm not trying to whine or complain. I have never taken public assistance or welfare. I make about 70K a year, but the truth is that I owe so much for school that I am living as I do out of necessity. I understand if you do not want me to be a part of your community to those that would like me to leave. I am sorry, but I will not leave, and you criminalizing me for trying to claw my way out of the lower class is not going to do any of us any good. I am thankful for what I do have. Please remember that someday, no matter how high you climb; you might still end up in my shoes. And if you do, I will still extend my hand in welcome and friendship to the little that I have. Thank you guys for reading.
Posted by John, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Oct 22, 2011 at 8:37 am
"I make about 70K a year"
That means that you pull in about $4,000/month, after taxes. You can get a studio apartment in San Jose for less than $1,000 per month. You can pay off your student loan slowly for about $600/month. That leaves you $2,400/month for living expenses. What are you whining about?
You are a leech. Your days of living on Palo Alto streets are numbered.
Posted by a mile in shoes, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 22, 2011 at 9:50 am
Perhaps you're a troll, but living in San Jose on 70K a year requires more financial acumen than you will find in government employees paid twice that just for the purpose of demonstrating such acumen.
Yes, it is quite possible to find a small $1300 apartment in a fairly safe San Jose neighborhood with reasonable schools.
You seem to ignore phone, utilities, health and other insurance, transportation, maintenance and a bunch of fees and costs that come with maintaining low balances with financial institutions and the inability to pay more in order to keep costs low over years for a variety of things (frequent oil changes, etc.)
Yet I do believe the fundamental stance here is, "I can't afford what I want so I will inconvenience others" rather than "I can't afford to live any other way so I will inconvenience others."
But even this is not much worse than neighbors who don't keep their yards looking good, right?
Posted by John, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Oct 22, 2011 at 11:17 am
"but living in San Jose on 70K a year requires more financial acumen"
Nonsense. My son makes $70k per year, lives (nicely) in San Francisco. He spent two years living with two roommates, and is now with his girlfriend. They share the rent. He commutes to a job in San Carlos, using CalTrain. He also has student loan debt ($90k). He is handling it, without whining and leeching.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Oct 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm
Me - There are rooms to rent in Sunnyvale from $300 to $975 a month, there are many less expensive towns in our area. Sharing an apartment/condo is a pretty normal thing when you are starting out or low on cash. Not everyone can afford to live in Palo Alto (not everyone can afford to shop at the Stanford Mall either). If you are making $70K a year, you can afford to house yourself.
Your story should serve as a cautionary tale about borrowing money for college. $120K is a huge amount of debt to have at the age of 21 or 22. Choosing a less expensive school would be more appropriate choice or attending a CC then 4 year school.