News

Church to host forum on vehicle dwelling

Meeting is response to Palo Alto proposal to make living in vehicles a crime

Palo Alto's controversial proposal to bar people from sleeping in vehicles will be the subject of a community meeting tonight (Thursday, Sept. 15).

The city's proposal, which was prompted largely by complaints from College Terrace residents, would make vehicle dwelling a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. The City Council was scheduled to discuss it in July but officials agreed to postpone it because of heavy resistance from local vehicle dwellers and advocates for the homeless.

The council later rescheduled the discussion to Sept. 12, but is once again kicking it forward to give staff a chance to discuss possible changes to the ordinance with the community.

City Manager James Keene said during Monday night's council meeting that staff has been working in recent months with residents from College Terrace and the coalition of advocates for the homeless on the new ordinance.

The forum will be held at 7 p.m. at the University Lutheran Church, 1611 Stanford Ave.

Gennady Sheyner

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Arch Conservative
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 15, 2011 at 10:21 am

I understand that the parking lot and adjacent facilities are available at the University Lutheran Church, at 1611 Stanford Avenue, Palo Alto, will be made available to any one wishing to park their vehicles and live in them for any length of time that they wish.


Like this comment
Posted by yikes
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm

people who own homes pay property taxes. people who live in their cars should pay a tax to use property that does not belong to them but is being donated to them. many families are cash strapped but still pay their taxes. just because you choose your car to live in doesn't mean you should avoid contributing your fair share.


Like this comment
Posted by Alice Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Where we have garages with toilets, I think the unsheltered should be able to remain in their cars. Condition is (a) no litter (b) out by 8 am in after 10. The parking manager for the city could designate areas as reserved at night for the unsheltered. Folks could register for this at the PA Housing Corporation and get a sticker for their cars. Also, they should be encouraged to get on the waiting lists for shelter at relevant agencies.


Like this comment
Posted by MKL
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm

In re: "just because you choose your car to live in doesn't mean you should avoid contributing your fair share" Seriously? I seriously doubt that you actually believe that anyone has an array of choice that ends up sleeping in his/her car. Shelters often are full and turn people away. Further, shelters might look tempting over huddling in covered entrance to a business, but they do have their issues: theft, safety concerns, and family members that occasionally must separate from one another. So it is hard for me not to choke when someone says that one chooses to live in his/her car. I'm glad that the homeless person owns a car. Here's why- it makes it more probable that they will secure or have some sort of job. In Santa Cruz it is a misdemeanor to sleep in public. Santa Cruz! The liberal, hippie capital of the Bay Area. I'd like to think that Palo Alto can use it's sophisticated, progressive, intelligent, collective mind to comprehensively treat the obstacles of homelessness with thought on the impact to residents as well as those that have little choice, given their present circumstances. This measure lacks the intelligent thought that I think Palo Altoans are capable of. Making sleeping in your car a misdemeanor is just passing the homeless from one community to the next. Let's just deal with it. The post that suggested a 10pm in and 8am out with designated spaces and registration had a thoughtful idea. Would love to read more like it.


Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm

People should not be sleeping in vehicles on public streets. Period.


Like this comment
Posted by PS
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Will the businessman/woman who naps in their car over lunch be faced with a misdemeanor as well or will the local government only enforce this against the homeless population, because it seems there could be a Constitutional challenge available to the homeless? Equal protection under the law?

Also, do we really want to shower the homeless with criminal charges (rather than an infraction)? Won't think just make it even more difficult for them to get a job? They always ask one to check a box if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor. Seems like a bad idea to me.


Like this comment
Posted by Car Napper
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm

They need to come up with a better solution. Of course we don't want vagrants on the street or sleeping in their cars, but the solution is to help them find places to stay instead of criminalizing them when they are down and out. Someone didn't do much thinking on this one.


Like this comment
Posted by Church Lover
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Maybe the churches should offer spots to these people. At least they cannot be charged then as it is private property and it gives them an organized space instead of having them scattered about over the city.


Like this comment
Posted by Chris Gaither
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Most people who are homeless, do not choose to be homeless. Yes, some people do prefer to live on the streets and in their cars because some people cannot (emotionally, pyschologically, etc.) adjust to rules that are enforced in housing complexes, be they affordable or market rate. Some people are by choice nomadic.

For those who live in their cars not by choice, and because it is the only option they can afford at the moment, Palo Altans as a city need to be and should be sensitive to the issue, by allowing car dwellers, as long as the dwellers are not violating other peoples' property. The fact that the vehicle is in a particular neighborhood is not a property right violation. However, if someone trespasses onto others' properties and use other peoples' property without permission, this is unacceptable.

Given the economic realities of the last three to four years (since 2007), it seems that our society in general should be sensitive to the fact that not everyone is on equal economic footing, and not everyone is even in a position to balance basic survival needs (clothing, food, housing, transport, etc.) We hear in the news everyday about foreclosures, high unemployment and the overall unimproving situation in the economy. For many Americans, the recession never ended, and these news headlines are very real, and not just news headlines. Many Americans, including Palo Altans are living these very news headlines. It seems, that Palo Alto which has so many blessings (growing economy as seen by downtown increase in business occupancy rates; ability to build and renovate its libraries; increased tax revenue from businesses that call Palo Alto home, etc.) should be willing to share some of its streets with people whose only shelter is their car.

Yes, people can get into Shelters if space is available, and people can place their names on affordable housing waitlists. Those waitlists are long, and securing affordable housing does not occur over night. One must qualify (credit reports, employment, income, and verifiable landlord references) just as one must qualify for market rental housing, and mortgages. A process still exists, and affordable housing is just not handed out because someone is homeless.

All told, it seems Palo Alto should be concerned about living up to what many people around the globe perceive it to be, a great and caring community with lots to offer. Palo Alto as a city should care just as much about allowing space on a street to those whose only home is their car, as it cares about finding space to house Facebook, and other similar entities.


Like this comment
Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm

My heart goes out to people who are reduced to living in their cars, and I abhor criminalizing them. However, I also don't want those people relieving themselves in my yard or littering my street. This problem must be approached with compassion for both the homeless and the homeowner. I very much like the idea of setting aside safe zones for people to park and sleep in their cars, but those zones must have restroom facilities, trash recepticles, and must be maintained and patrolled. All of that is no minor expense, but can anyone name another reasonable and compassionate solution to the problem?

I have been shagged out of overnight parking spots in the past myself, sleeping in an RV. In every case the officer or security guard who told me I could not stay there was very nice and polite, and when I asked if they knew of a place where it would be okay for me to park, I was pointed to or escorted to an alternative location.


Like this comment
Posted by MKL
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I really enjoyed reading Chris Gaither's post and I hope that he goes to the meeting tonight, as I agreed with everything he said. Your post was articulate and thoughtful. I just want to see less judgment and more compassion and honestly, I don't care if it costs me something. While I am glad that the proposition of this law has created discussion, it angers me a bit that the proponents are so harsh.

I just think we should try to help these people rather than punish them, and still be considerate of our neighbors and friends who don't want them parked on the curb in front of their homes!

I cannot be at the meeting tonight, but I really hope that Chris and "JustMe" attend!

Sincerely,
Marci


Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2011 at 7:19 am

In these devastating times, it would be basic humanitarian response to provide a safety net for all persons who choose to live in their vehicles. Just make campgrounds with bathrooms and security. Charge $5 a night to most folks, if necessary, but grant those who can't pay vouchers as long as they will work with counselors to improve their situation.

It's the least we could do.


Like this comment
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2011 at 8:11 am

A limitless permission to sleep overnight in cars will only exacerbate the problem. How do you separate the lazy from the disadvantaged? A certain number will always "use" the permissiveness
to create a lifestyle (look at Victor Frost), which when once in place will be well nigh impossible to change. Each homeless person should undergo an assessment to determine cause and possible remedy for the homeless situation, and time limits imposed to prevent someone from a default do-nothing position. Some responsibilities are necessary or this will always be a problem with no solution.


Like this comment
Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2011 at 9:57 am

I would like to point out that the prohibition on sleeping in your vehicle does extend beyond the homeless. If your parents roll into town in there $200K+ motorhome and park it on your property, they are not legally allowed to sleep in it while visiting you for a week. If you have an RV on your property and your kids come to visit, they cannot legally stay in the perfectly comfortable RV. You cannot nap in your car at work during your lunch, as noted above. Taking things to their logical extreme, you could be cited if your baby falls asleep in his car seat (funny until there is selective enforcement.) If you have a few too many in a bar and wish to sleep it off, it is illegal to do so. (In another absurdity, I believe you can be cited for DUI for trying to sleep it off, even though you were not actually driving.)

The biggest problem I have with laws like this targeting the homeless is that we are attempting to make it illegal for them to exist. These people do exist, and people need to sleep somewhere. Sleeping in a locked vehicle is a LOT safer than sleeping on the grass or in a homeless shelter. If you are homeless and you have a car, it makes sense to sleep in it. Everyone, including the homeless, has a right to protect their physical safety.


Like this comment
Posted by MKL
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2011 at 10:10 am

@JustMe: You had great points. The law is an absurdity, and at it's fundamental core it is simply designed to prohibit the homeless. That is what bothers me so much about it. I like the various suggestions in this thread that seek to comprehensively address the homeless issue with a humanitarian heart while still seeking to balance the public interest. We have no business making laws that are so discriminatory and simplistic. It does nothing to solve the problem. I'd be willing to make a small donation to a non-profit that comes up with a reasonable solution to this issue. I'd like to think my neighbors would as well.

While we are on this topic....Does anyone happen to know if the City of Palo Alto also has a ban on sleeping on the streets, sidewalks, etc.?


Like this comment
Posted by Just an observation!!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2011 at 10:28 am

I'm sure the City has ways of removing unwanted vehicles from the street in front of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuccerberg or Larry Page's homes. They should apply the same removal process to the street infront of all Palo Alto homes


Like this comment
Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2011 at 11:07 am

Just an obsercation!!, I believe MKL's question was regarding what would happen if someone rolled a sleeping bag out on the sidewalk, not sleeping in the vehicle. That is a good question: What if a homeless person parked his vehicle on your street but didn't sleep in it. Instead, he rolled a sleeping bag (and hopefully a foam pad)out onto the sidewalk near his car and went to bed, not in your yard, but on the public sidewalk.

What if he did it downtown? I know he cannot be in the parks after dark, but how about the sidewalk in front of the park? How about an un-used piece of concrete in a parking lot or garage? What does the law say about that?


Like this comment
Posted by Homeless
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Sep 16, 2011 at 11:38 am

I agree with comments above that it's silly to try to legislate out of existence that which does exist.

But some of the "compassionate" crowd seem to want to support and encourage homelessness, and especially the homeless in Palo Alto.

That isn't good. It's better for people to have homes.

Now, Palo Alto is one of the wold's most expensive cities to live in. Surely there is a space between "no longer being able to afford to live in Palo Alto" and "being homeless."

Hundreds of my classmates from my local high school have moved far away to lower cost housing. Some even commute back.

If the people want to provide homes for those who otherwise can't afford them, let's do that.

But don't invite as many people as can fit on the streets, in the parks, in the bushes around the tracks and freeway, on the sidewalks and in the shopping parking lots and schools to form an underclass in Palo Alto.

That neither helps the homeless nor the homed. And hurts business.




Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I have seen no valid objection to the idea of a $5 a night campground. There should be no restrictions on who can camp there. That way, you will have a good mix of homeless and travelers on a low budget.


Like this comment
Posted by edgarpoet
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm

edgarpoet is a registered user.

I think that all those wishing to impose a car dwelling ordinace should have to actually sleep in their car for a week and see
how comfrotable it is! Put up with the leers from people, adjust your schedule to that of the free meals programs and try to exist
this way without losing your mind!
After that , report back here and write about your experience.
Then imagine how it would be to loose that alternative to ABSOLUTE poverty!


Like this comment
Posted by MKL
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm

@JohnThomas:

I think the $5 a night campground was a good suggestion, particularly coupled with (was it your idea) that we have them register. This creates a record and hopefully can start the process of finding a better alternative for them or comprehensive help. There are subsidized housing options, but they have such long waiting lists. When I clerked at Bay Area Legal Aid I looked into these for some clients. Sometimes they can wait 2 or more years, but if they aren't on the list to begin with.... So it seems they should at least be put in touch with the resources that are available while they are in "transition".

To the comment that we shouldn't encourage the homeless to come here- I don't think we do. I don't know if it is still the case, but when I clerked at BALA in San Francisco back in 2005, the homeless were eligible for a $400 cash grant per month from the city. I don't think Palo Alto does anything like this. Also, I know that the former CEO of Napster, Eileen Richardson, started a program in Palo Alto for the homeless, to help them gain self- sufficiency and get them off the street. It is called DownTown Streets Team: www.StreetsTeam.org. Yet another resource for those that don't have jobs but want to get back on track.

I know I am being redundant, but my point is we need to sift through those that are here and identify the homeless that don't want to be, and help them get back on their feet. They may not even know what resources are available.


Like this comment
Posted by Just an observation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm

We already have an area behind the Blockbuster store where campers with mobile homes pay a lot more than %5 per night rent. If I was paying a whole lot more than $5. to rent a space at one of the existing camp grounds I'd leave and park in Palo Alto.

If we give away free parking spaces for campers we'll get everybody. Meanwhile Menlo Park, Los Altos, Mountain View and LAH all ban sleeping in campers in their towns.


Like this comment
Posted by MKL
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm

@Just an observation: Do the neighboring cities make it a misdemeanor to sleep in one's vehicle or simply an infraction? There is a huge difference- don't at all mean to be condescending but a misdemeanor is a criminal act punishable by fines and/or jail time of up to one year. It also stays on one's record and can be a problem when one attempts to get a job. So the homeless person who is down on his/her luck and looking for work (let's assume the best- that it is a transitional homeless situation) cannot get a job because of this conviction.

I just think the way that the problem is being approached is ridiculous. Whether you agree or disagree that we should help people that are homeless and have little resources is irrelevant. The issue here, I believe, is that we have some folks who have decided to criminalize homelessness. It doesn't logically work!


Like this comment
Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I disagree that if we give away free spots we will get everyone here. The reason we HAVE homeless people trying to live in Palo Alto is because they have some kind of business here. It could be the hospital, it could be a job they are trying to maintain, it could be proximity to family, but there must be a reason for homeless people to want to live in one of the most expensive places on Earth. Other homeless people in other places have their buisness there and would probably not migrate to Palo Alto en mass to take advantage of free parking.

I disagree with charging $5 for the spot. What are you going to do if the guy does not have $5, throw him out and make him park on the street somewhere? You want that guy parking on your street because he stuck his hand into his pocket and came up with only $4.50? Don't charge.

I was thinking that, if this program is put into place, I would view it as an experimental program to be monitored and improved as needed. I was also thinking that, if this happens, I might be interested in "playing homeless" and spending the night in these places a couple of times, and reporting my findings. I might want to upgrade from a car to a beat-up RV though.

Once you start gathering these people in small groups like that, it might be possible to visit and talk to them, learn more about them as a group and as individuals, and use that information to make improvements to the system. We might actually find better solutions and help a few to a better life. I have no illusions about "rescuing" them all, but a few would be a good start.


Like this comment
Posted by MKL
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm

@JustMe: If you are thinking of starting a Non-profit, count me in. I like your ideas. In fairness to the person who proposed the $5/night fee, I believe that he/she suggested that it was a donation and if one could not come up with it they would not be refused a spot? I vaguely remember something to that effect, but am too lazy to scroll up and find it!

I don't have illusions of changing the world either, but would love to do a small bit of good for those that want and need the help.


Like this comment
Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm

MKL, thanks, I have also appreciated your posts. We do seem to think the same way.

I am not thinking of starting a non-profit. I have a full-time job and need to support my family and my mortgage. If I could devote full time to helping solve these problems while still providing for my responsibilities, I would be interested. But I am afraid I am just approaching this as an interest, not as a job.

I strongly believe that no matter what solutions we put into place they will not be 100% and they will need fine-tuning. For instance, some people may be opting to stay at the homeless shelter right now rather than staying in a car because they feel it is safer. If this program works, and staying in your car is the new safer option, you might see more people interested in transitioning from the shelter to the car, or RV, or whatever.

Another consideration: When it turns cold and rainy, the spots in the parking garages will be premium. If someone has a small RV with a leaky roof (I have had one of those) parking under some sort of shelter will be STRONGLY desired. That will shift the dynamics a tish. I have seen a lot of RV-type vehicles around that look lived-in, some of them pretty ramshackle.

We might also want to address the use of fire for cooking: Propane okay, campfires bad.

We might even talk to some of the more stable homeless about helping monitor the sites. (Gasp, a job?) Part time, no retirement benefits.


Like this comment
Posted by MKL
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Well, if anyone here begins work on this project and wants assistance, I am all ears. (Or if someone knows of an initiative that is already working to address the issue) I am a stay at home mom, but have plenty of time available in the evening or the weekends. Have a law degree, but am not an attorney- never sat for the Bar. Certainly could take care of any administrative odds and ends during the day.


Like this comment
Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I would much rather be a part of a solution than a problem. I would not mind being counted in either. But for now, I tink I need to protect my "secret identity". :)

I am an engineer, troubleshooter by nature, and I have an interest. I don't think outside the box though, I simply deny the existance of a "box".


Like this comment
Posted by MKL
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2011 at 8:44 pm

JustMe: When you decide what it is we could do as a collective body to attempt to fix this mess that is in the process of being created, please advise.

I couldn't decide if your "box" statements were an exercise in logic, philosophy, or a mere attempt to be modest. In any case, I think the fact that others believe in the existence of the box, the fact that your solutions don't fit squarely in them is evidence that you think outside the box. It doesn't have to be your box, does it? We are arguing for community here I believe? :-)

When is the next meeting on this? Anyone know?


Like this comment
Posted by true
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Sep 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm

all is fact,logical,honest,nothing else.


Like this comment
Posted by No worries
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 17, 2011 at 6:26 am

JustMe: If my parents roll into town and park their RV in my driveway, it is my driveway and with my permission.

I have no problem if individuals wish to donate their driveway to a car sleeper. Feel free. Put a sign out on your lawn saying "homeless car sleepers welcome".

The difference is forcing others to take your parents in THEIR driveway.

Church groups, same thing. You want to open your parking lot? Feel free.

Private charity: Thumbs up.
Forced "charity": Thumbs down.

No worries if we all just use a little sense.


Like this comment
Posted by MKL
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2011 at 7:30 am

No Worries: No one is discussing forcing anyone to donate their driveways? The potential legislation is geared towards PUBLIC streets, no private property at all. So this would pertain to those who are potentially parked on your street, but not on your property. I am curious where in Palo Alto the greatest concentration of this occurrence is. In South of Midtown we really don't see it at all. I assume this is mostly downtown and/or in Old Palo Alto?


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Mueller
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 17, 2011 at 10:53 am

Whatever is resolved, any criminality offense should be excluded.


Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm

MKL

No. I don't think all the people that would stay at the campground should have to "register" and discuss assistance - just those who could not pay. Besides the security, the $5 a night would also buy them dignity. Their privacy should not be intruded upon.

Just An Observation

I'm sorry. But protecting the marginal camp space providers, like Blockbuster, simply isn't a serious consideration. The regular campgrounds would not lose much business, because they would be in better locations, have full service amentities - like hook-ups, dumping stations, attractive landscaping, stores, laundromats, etc.

This still seems a great solution, not only for the homeless, but for people, like seniors, who would like to travel, but don't because they have low, fixed incomes.

Justme

I already stated that those who can't pay the $5 should agree to get counseling to improve their situation.

I, too, would be very interested in helping this project get going. As another stated, I value my anonymous poster status, so we would need to develop another point of contact.


Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Okay. I thought of how we can further protect the established campgrounds. Only those who are under a certain threshold of income could stay in the public campground - say less than $1500 a month income.


Like this comment
Posted by Just an observation
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Less than $1,500 a month income would include most of us on Social Security including me. Public campgrounds only for those who have an income of less than $500 per month!! Be real you must be a rich person in Palo Alto.


Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I purposely set the figure to allow those elderly who rely solely on Social Security as their income. These people have incomes so low, they are not a signifcant revenue source to the regular campgrounds. And, as mentioned earlier they would provide a good mix to those who would patronize the public campgrounds.


Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Here's another rule that would protect the established campgrounds - and make the public campground's use of space more efficient.

Exlude all but the smallest RVs by setting a length limitation of say, 20 to 25 feet.


Like this comment
Posted by MKL
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2011 at 7:39 pm

I am with JustMe and the other user who affirmed that they are interested in helping but a little uneasy about revealing identity. If some one wants to start a forum or private group on google or similar site and maybe could provide a link, I would be happy to provide an email address?

Thanks
Marci


Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Okay. I've set up a private Google group. Just post an e-mail address, and I'll invite you.


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 18, 2011 at 4:10 pm

This is so simple, really.

I have, previously, provided an invitation to sign a registry for those who want to host homeless people in their own homes. Yet, I have not received a single signup. What is going on here? If people want to express their personal humanity, they need to commit!

Where are the ministers and city council members and other erstwhile defenders of the car campers/homeless? Surely, they should lead the way.

Silence is very loud.


Like this comment
Posted by Not a churchgoer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm

First poster's posting: "I understand that the parking lot and adjacent facilities are available at the University Lutheran Church, at 1611 Stanford Avenue, Palo Alto, will be made available to any one wishing to park their vehicles and live in them for any length of time that they wish."

All churches should do the same, since religion does preach to help others and be compassionate. Otherwise, the churchgoers and pastors/ministers are being hypocrites. Hypocrites attending church? Nothing new! They just ask for forgiveness!


Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2011 at 5:09 pm

I can understand how people may not want to host homeless people in their homes, but may be willing to support something like this public campground concept. Most probably have relatives they wouldn't even invite to stay in their homes. 8^)


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 18, 2011 at 5:34 pm

"I can understand how people may not want to host homeless people in their homes"

Why? These same people insist that the rest of us allow the homless to live in front of our homes or in our parks, etc. Who is going to man up here, and be the first to sign the Registry? As a start, all the ministers and council members who claim to be protecting the homeless, whould agree to allow the homeless to live in front of their homes and parking lots.

The sounds of silence are very loud.


Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I see. You're not really serious about arriving at a solution. You just want to point your finger. Get a life.

A well-designed, well-managed, low-income campground would not detract from the community. It would actually be a model for the rest of the country.


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm

"A well-designed, well-managed, low-income campground would not detract from the community"

So what happens when the homeless refuse to go there? Remember, we heard the same arguments about the Opportunity Center when it was being proposed. The notion was that the police could tell the bums that they had somewhere to go. What happened? The OC is full, and costing the city money, and there are even more bums, because the OC became a magnet, as was warned ahead of time, by many critics of it.

BTW, where will this well designed campground be located? Who would manage it? At what cost, and who would pay for it?

The "solution", if there is one, is for individuals to step up to the plate, and take in the homeless. Will you, John Thomas, be the first to sign up for the Registry? If so, please provide your address on this thread.


Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Being a model program, it could probably not handle everyone. Especially if people were attracted from surrounding areas. But I imagine a small campground could have at least 50 spaces. Housing 50 plus people (some vehicles would have more than one person) a night is no small contribution.

90 percent of the campers would pay $5 a night. That should cover the manager's salary and basic maintenance.

Of course, it's up to the community to devote the resources necessary to establishing it. Alas, I am not of your community, and am just a working man.

Since you've already seen there is no interest in your "registry" idea, why don't you stop beating the dead horse?


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 18, 2011 at 6:58 pm

" I am not of your community"

Of course! We get all kinds of "suggestions" from outsiders.

Simple question: Where do you live? Are you willing to invite the homeless to your home, or your community? Does your community already have a well designed park for the homeless? Assuming it does, since you are provoking the issue, who pays for it? Where, exactly, is it located in your community?


Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2011 at 8:51 pm

I don't give personal information on the Internet. As far as I know, this is an untried concept. It would take a visionary community to implement it. I simply plant this idea wherever it seems there may be interest. I can see no flaws in it.


Like this comment
Posted by Not a churchgoer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2011 at 9:32 pm

The problem with our country is that it enables too much. There is too much abuse of our systems. I know of someone who claims depression and lives off the government. The truth is, he is an intelligent Paly Alum but completely lazy and does not want to grow up and get a job and be responsible. All these car dwellers are lazy. You could offer them a job on a silver platter and they wouldn't take it. Oh, wait, there ARE jobs for them. They just have too much pride to take them and are being choosy! Let's let the hard-working immigrants take those jobs instead!


Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Not a churchgoer

How many people do you know who live in cars? I'd bet the person you know really does have a disabling condition. Obtaining SSI is a very difficult thing to do.


Like this comment
Posted by Not a churchgoer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2011 at 11:25 pm

@JohnThomas: I am not sure what type of govt. assistance he is receiving (something that allows him to stay in low-income housing) but I have filled out job applications for him and given him leads but he prefers to leech off others and play on his computer while he has been unemployed for a decade. He is perfectly capable. Now, he claims he is going to college to finish his degree, and then to grad school. Perfect! He can put off employment for another 4 years!

I'd like someone to interview these car dwellers and ask them why they have refused to accept blue-collar jobs. Not all of them are addicted to drugs or physically handicapped. I think they are just lazy because they know America will allow it.


Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2011 at 7:28 am

You have zero knowledge of the homeless community, nor of the many major reasons they are in those circumstances.


Like this comment
Posted by Marci
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2011 at 7:52 am

email address for the Google group: anonmspris@yahoo.com


Like this comment
Posted by observer
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2011 at 10:06 am

Wow, a Google group with a Yahoo address.
Now that's creative!


Like this comment
Posted by JohnThomas
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Marci

Thank you. Your invitation has been sent.



Observer.

A private Google group has been created for this discussion. Those who wish to join are posting their e-mail addresses to receive an invitation.

Of course, posted e-mails aren't necessarily with Google.


Like this comment
Posted by Edgarpoet
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Edgarpoet is a registered user.

To palo Alto Mom:
Where then shall I sleep?
1) under an overpass
2) in a dumpster
3)next to garbage dump
4)be imprisoned just for losing my good job to cheap labor
5)on the ground behind my car?


Like this comment
Posted by Edgarpoet
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Edgarpoet is a registered user.

If the insurance companies along with the city planning department
would allow it, the local churches would allow up to 4 vehicles per night to park in their lots, assuming we could get some police patrols
to these parking lots to provide a little security.
Ministers are telling us that their insurance policies do not cover
some homeless who sleep in their parking lots.
palo Alto has 44 churches and at least 29 of them responded positive
when asked if homeless vehicle dwellers could park in their lots.
The legalist society we live in is halting this!
What could be done to change this?


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Show some compassion
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 22, 2011 at 8:18 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2011 at 9:04 am

Paly Alum is a registered user.

Well said, Homeless and John. We worked hard to live here and shouldn't have to put up with homeless - Palo Alto cannot save the world. I have also read stories about helping the homeless and most are also helpless and unable to sustain a life like the rest of society.


Like this comment
Posted by Show some compassion
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 22, 2011 at 9:09 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Edgarpoet
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 22, 2011 at 10:34 am

Edgarpoet is a registered user.

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Edgarpoet
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 22, 2011 at 10:45 am

Edgarpoet is a registered user.

Not a churchgoer,

The facts are:
all the real jobs are gone
the jobs that are left will NOT support the living expense in this area.
Even skilled jobs, (which I once had) the wages have taken a 50% dump while the cost of basic necessities have risen 65%
and to top this off AGe discrimination has forced 400,000
OUT of the labor market for good.
When these facts reverse, I will be the first in line to work.
Until then, Do you know where I can land employment for a living wage
that will get me an apartment?


Like this comment
Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2011 at 11:03 am

Paly Alum is a registered user.

@Edgerpoet: You solved your problem: "the jobs that are left will NOT support the living expense in this area. . . Even skilled jobs, (which I once had) the wages have taken a 50% dump while the cost of basic necessities have risen 65%."

If I had no income, I would move to a less expensive area rather than be homeless. There are plenty of places inside and outside of CA which will allow one to work a low-paying job, yet have enough to rent an apartment. The midwest cost of living is much cheaper; I lived there for 25 years. Try North/South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio. This phenomenon is called Evolution.


Like this comment
Posted by Pudding Head
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I don't think that the homeless here, in Palo Alto, are talking about saving the whole, wide world. Although that would be a worthy Christian goal, I think its a question of will you help your neighbor, not necessarily help the whole wide world. Apparently some still believe in Darwinian ethics - only the strong survive. In due time, we will all wane. Many say, "I've worked hard for the money I have". Yea, I've seen how hard many worked. 20% of any group of people do 80% of the work, is what I've noticed. The rest, I believe, sit in good unions, trade associations and others just know how to work the system so they can get the big bucks for doing squat. So much for your "hard work".


Like this comment
Posted by Rich
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2011 at 10:16 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.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

He said – she said – who is lying? Justice Brett Kavanaugh or PA resident Christine Ford
By Diana Diamond | 41 comments | 1,483 views

Global Warming Diet
By Laura Stec | 6 comments | 1,245 views

Couples: "Taming Your Gremlin" by Richard Carson
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,095 views

Preparing for kindergarten
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 600 views

 

Pre-registration ends tomorrow!

​On Friday, September 21, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run, or—for the first time—half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More