The more than 40 recreational vehicles parked along El Camino Real, just outside Stanford University, have been deemed eyesores and nuisances, but inside them are people facing diverse circumstances: among them, families struggling to make ends meet and traveling contractors who work locally but have permanent homes in other California cities.
Over the course of two weeks, the Weekly spoke to nearly a dozen residents of this de facto RV park and found that for many, like a family of 10 who share one camper, living in an RV is a means of survival. For others, including a 62-year-old Central Valley resident approaching retirement, an RV is a temporary home away from home. Some were reluctant to share their stories and others were eager to clear up misconceptions about people who live in RVs.
Palo Alto is exploring the possibility of following in the footsteps of neighboring cities East Palo Alto and Mountain View, which each launched safe parking programs for RVs this year. In addition to free overnight parking, the programs provide access to showers, restrooms and laundry services.
Read the full story for a glimpse into the lives of the people inside the controversial vehicles that city leaders are trying to get off the streets.
Related article: New homeless census shows a spike in population living in vehicles
Hear Weekly journalists Veronica Weber and Cierra Bailey discuss their full interviews, including subjects such as the RV residents' encounters with police and the general public and how they manage day-to-day life, on the Weekly's webcast, "Behind the Headlines." The show is now available on our YouTube channel and podcast page.