Google chips in $1M for homeless services in Mountain View

New facility at Hope's Corner will provide case management, food, showers and job training

Ambitious plans to transform Trinity United Methodist Church into a hub for homeless services will move forward next month, thanks in large part to a $1 million contribution from Mountain View's largest tech company.

Google officials announced the company's major financial support, which had been in the works for close to a year and kept secret until this week, during a celebration inside the church sanctuary at the corner of Hope and Mercy streets Tuesday morning, July 24. The funding adds the final key piece to a $2 million plan to offer a cold weather shelter, on-site meal preparation, showers, case management services and job training all under one roof.

The church and its on-site nonprofit, Hope's Corner, have taken on a growing role in supporting homeless and needy residents in recent years. Hope's Corner began providing free weekly meals at its location in Old Mountain View in 2011, and now serves more than 200 people each Saturday morning. Trinity United Methodist Church officials agreed to take it a step further last year, and opened the sanctuary space as a cold weather shelter for up to 50 homeless women and children.

Construction plans to upgrade the facility, which are set to begin in a few weeks, call for building a commercial kitchen to cook food for both the shelter as well as the Saturday program, along with designated space for case management, laundry services and job training.

Javier Gonzalez, Google's public affairs manager, said the company is proud to help bring these vital services to the community, and that Google and its employees strive to be good corporate neighbors and citizens.

"We're very proud to announce a $1 million contribution to help Hope's Corner and this community bring this facility to fruition," he said.

Google joins a growing number of agencies involved in the project, which includes Community Services Agency of Mountain View and Los Altos, Trinity United Methodist Church, Los Altos United Methodist Church, the city of Mountain View, Santa Clara County, HomeFirst, Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC) and the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley. In a symbolic gesture, each agency had a representative put in a "piece" of the partnership on a large poster superimposed over a heart.

Largely responsible for brokering the deal with Google was Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who said Google officials showed a willingness early on to pitch in however they could. Simitian stressed that every single group involved deserves credit, along with the local residents in Old Mountain View who supported the idea of a homeless shelter in their backyard. He points out that last year's approval process for the cold weather shelter was shockingly brief because not one single person publicly opposed the proposal.

"The hearing lasted seven minutes," Simitian said. "And it lasted seven minutes because a proposal to bring 50 homeless people to the area did not generate one person in opposition."

Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel said the neighborhood not only allowed the shelter to go through, but many of the residents stepped up to volunteer during the cold weather months. He said the church is trying to solve an "enormous problem" through its homeless services, getting help from so many different groups and people, and acknowledged that the economic climate in Silicon Valley is exacerbating the problem.

"We're fighting an uphill battle against an economic boom that's separating people," he said.

Mountain View's homeless population tripled from 139 people in 2013 to 416 in 2017, the vast majority of whom are "unsheltered," meaning they are living in vehicles, encampments, along creeks or on the street, according to a census report released by Santa Clara County last year. The entire county saw a smaller increase over the same time period, from 6,760 homeless people in 2013 to 7,034 in 2017.

Hope's Corner board president Leslie Carmichael told the Voice that the nonprofit has been raising money to upgrade its kitchen since 2012, long before the number of people seeking food rapidly grew from dozens to hundreds of every Saturday morning. But she said she had no idea the plans would expand to a multi-million dollar all-encompassing homeless services facility.

"It's really, I think, a testament to the community that all these things have come together, and we're really happy to be part of that," she said.

Although the event was billed as a groundbreaking, real work constructing the new facility will begin in a few weeks, and is expected to take about six months to complete, Carmichael said. Food and shower services currently provided by Hope's Corner are not expected to be interrupted and will continue as usual through the end of the year.

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20 people like this
Posted by Bruce Karney
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 24, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Residents of Old Mountain View have been supportive of services for the homeless for a very long time. I remember 15-20 years ago the City was trying to decide whether to put a very low income apartment project in Old Mountain View or off San Antonio Road near CSMA and the train tracks. Most local residents who expressed an opinion wanted the apartments to be built in our neighborhood because it had better connections to public transit, jobs, and supportive services. The City Council thought otherwise and chose the San Antonio site. I'm glad that compassion is still one of the hallmarks of the neighborhood.

14 people like this
Posted by Pastor Paul Bains
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Trinity Church and Hope's Corner, we (Project WeHOPE) are proud of the Faith Community stepping in and stepping up to serve the less fortunate of our society. This is a great example of how private, public and faith can work together to address the systemic issues.

Keep up the good work!

Pastor Paul Bains
Project WeHOPE

25 people like this
Posted by cgloyear
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 24, 2018 at 6:15 pm

Sorry, I am not in favor of a homeless shelter in downtown. It is my understanding that they are released during the day after having slept at the church. This of course explains why there is now a constant stream of homeless people on the streets of downtown during the day. Honestly. I am sorry, but I do not wish to house homeless people sleeping in their electric wheelchairs plugged into outside electrical plugs on Castro, or be bombarded by loud recorded music as a homeless busker is looking for donations. Or people begging. This is ridiculous. A homeless shelter with a release program during the day is a joke. This is America and there are social welfare programs for ALL of these people. They choose not to avail themselves of the opportunities and even their families have given up on them. But, not the liberals in Mountain View. Perhaps they will now arrive by the bus load from all over the country. Good weather, and every thing is free, come to Mountain View!

14 people like this
Posted by homeless_are_people_too
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 24, 2018 at 7:24 pm

> It is my understanding that they are released during the day after having slept at the church.

Well, it would be VERY illegal to physically detain them, them not having committed any crime and all.

The bill of rights, not so popular with some people.

18 people like this
Posted by ReleasedCitizen
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jul 24, 2018 at 9:42 pm

Watch out everyone @cgloyear is released every morning after sleeping in a comfortable bed. This of course explains why he is free to post his/her NIMBY rants at will.

6 people like this
Posted by
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2018 at 9:11 am

There is a constant stream of homeless, because there are more and more people who can't afford to live in homes in Silicon Valley and they have to go somewhere. And that's because of Google and Apple and Facebook and Yahoo, they have driven the prices for rent and affordability in this area straight up, greed has taken over in Silicon Valley. Google is giving 1 million? That's nothing to them, they are doing it for the PR and the write off, i find it hard to believe that they really care. People who aren't in favor of a shelter and just selfish. I have news for you, the homeless are here to stay, their numbers are growing and there they need a place to sleep too. It's people like you that put them on the street in first place, because you don't want to deal with them, or help them. They are humans, they have lives too. They get a quick, short reprieve from a shelter, to be able to sleep in a warm room with a roof over their head. Better for them to sleep in a shelter, than on the streets or your front lawn.

19 people like this
Posted by Here since 1968
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2018 at 10:28 am

There is no one or ever 5 reasons for homelessness. How many are drug addicted? How many need mental health care? how many are actually people who just cannot afford things? How many are simply doing it by choice?

There is no way to address homelessness without first identifying how many of the various subgroups of homeless people there are, and then uniquely tailoring any help to that group. A drug addict will need different help than an out of work software engineer or family.

Blaming one scapegoat (Tech Companies) does nothing in addressing the issue, and is patently false if the assumption is that without their influence, homelessness would not be a big issue. Numbers are up nationwide, not just here.

4 people like this
Posted by Ludey
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 25, 2018 at 2:12 pm

The claim that homelessness is caused by high real-estate prices is a liberal pipe dream. In what other city can you afford an apartment without a job? The problem with these homeless is not that their jobs don't pay well enough.

6 people like this
Posted by Here since 1968
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2018 at 2:32 pm

Oh, it's also not caused by "Liberals" or "Conservatives". It's caused my a myriad of issues, each needing a unique solution. That's why it's a very hard concept for many to grasp.

20 people like this
Posted by Tina
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2018 at 3:18 pm

I left NYC in 1986 because it got so bad (the homeless problem)I had to step over bodies to get into my place of work. I moved to SF and now work and live partime in MTN View . I can tell you first hand the city has a really bad homeless problem and the quality of life is terrible. It is scary walking in many neighborhoods. Mountain View will become the new SF. I recently went back for a visit to NYC and they have done a terrific job in solving some of the homeless problem. Why don't you send some city staff there and find out what works for them.We don't need to reinvent the wheel!

5 people like this
Posted by Small Price for Google to Pay
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 25, 2018 at 11:55 pm

One million is a small price for Google to pay given that they're a big source of the housing problem.

For anyone looking to understand how Google, more than anyone else, created the homeless problem in Mountain View, listen to 10-episode public radio series from The Intersection. When you're done, you'll realize that Google should be contributing far more money to the solution.

Web Link

2 people like this
Posted by Here since 1968
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2018 at 5:01 am

Read my first post.

13 people like this
Posted by Jan
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 26, 2018 at 9:25 am

I want to give a HUGE shout out to Los Altos United Methodist Church that actually started Hopes Corner and continued to work effortlessly with Trinity United Methodist Church to offer and expand services to those in need in our community. All of the board and long list of volunteers are to be commended for their commitment to compassionately building a community of love and support for those in need. Thank you for all of your efforts.

12 people like this
Posted by Going down
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 11:23 pm

It started with permissiveness to the RV dwellers. Now the word is out that Mountain View is a shanty town where vagrancy is rewarded. This once beautiful town is being taken advantage of. I don't blame the homeless for coming here. Nearby towns made up their minds that they don't want the blight, but Mountain View council doesn't have the backbone to do the same.

4 people like this
Posted by Kilda
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2018 at 10:59 am

Google should have donated $10 million at least. Years ago they had employees who weren't paid adequately having to get their weekend meals from Hope's Corner. I find it offensive that they believe they are doing good.

2 people like this
Posted by dtk311
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 28, 2018 at 3:06 pm

In response to cgloyear:

The Cold Weather Shelter operated at Trinity United Methodist Church only provided temporary shelter to a maximum number of 50 members of homeless families with children and homeless single women. The shelter only operated from November 2017 to April 2018. Your comment of: "This, of course, explains why there is now a constant stream of homeless people on the streets of downtown during the day." as a result of the shelter is utter nonsense. The shelter is not even open at this time.

The Cold Weather Shelter was not a jail or prison thus the people were not "released during the day." They were citizens that were free to come and go as they please just like you. Do you think the homeless should be imprisoned and not be allowed to be seen by the likes of you? The people that made use of the shelter were carefully vetted by CSA and Home First. Most of the adults had jobs and the children attended school. They were not the beggars, buskers, or wheelchair occupants that seem to offend you so much while you are your way for Starbucks. The shelter was also no picnic. It did provide a warm and safe place to sleep at night, meals that were so generously provided by volunteers, restrooms, and shower facilities. However, the quarters were tight, the guests had to leave the shelter by 7 am, and no facilities were provided during the day. I can only imagine the stigma for the children in this age of social media. Please do not try and tell me what the parents should have or should not have done, that is already done and does not change or help those kids one bit. We need to ask ourselves what we can do to help NOW.

You are however correct that this is America and there are social welfare programs available. That INCLUDES Mountain View and if you were to look into the problem of homelessness that already exists here you will find that the resources are already strained and services are NOT adequate to solve the problem. How do you know if these people have availed themselves of welfare services? Do you have any idea what services are available and who administers them? Do you have any idea how frustrating and time consuming it is to pursue these services? There is no public housing available, waitlists for public housing applications are closed, and there are no Section 8 vouchers available. Do really believe people like living in vehicles and RVs? They have no choice. Do you ever wonder who rents those RVs to the homeless? Do you wonder what kind of money they make on other's misery? Have you attended any City Council meetings, County Meetings, or the planning meetings for the Cold Weather Shelter? Or are you just blowing hot air about spineless Council Members and Liberals? Poverty and homelessness do not have party affiliations and your solution of sticking your head in the sand is absurd. If there are so many homeless here to offend your delicate sensibilities, then why are you doing nothing to help except flapping your gums nonsensically? Good weather? Do you need to be reminded why the Cold Weather Shelter is needed? How many people must die of exposure? Have we not seen enough already? And how dare you assume to know anything about these people and their families? Do you know any of them? Have you ever given up of your time to volunteer at Hope's Corner? It is easy to sign up online to volunteer. Try it, you might even like it. It certainly would be a better use of your time than you spewing ignorant nonsense from behind the protection of your keyboard like a chimp slinging poo.

In response to Going Down: What kind of a person calls another human being "blight"? What follows when you de-humanize others? Will that ease your mind to the point of allowing the homeless to be rounded up or persecuted to the point of leaving? Will you then have the "beautiful city" you wish for?

I would like to thank Google, County Supervisor Joe Simitian, Trinty United Methodist Church, Los Altos United Methodist Church, Hope's Corner, and all the rest of the people and organizations that are too numerous to list here with trying to help make Mountain View the beautiful and compassionate city that I dream of.

1 person likes this
Posted by Support Your Local Homeless
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 28, 2018 at 7:42 pm

There should be a shelter facility for homeless men as well & it should include:
(1) cots with sheets & blankets
(2) a basic toiletry kit (toothpaste/toothbrush, shampoo, lotion & safety razor)
(3) shower facilities (soap/towels provided)
(4) a continental breakfast (something simple like juice & coffee + danish)
(5) a laundromat
(6) a brown bag lunch upon leaving (e.g. PB/jelly + fresh fruit & water)
(7) free day pass on public transit
(8) a dinner/meal voucher at participating EBT-sanctioned restaurants

Check-in time no later than sundown & check-out time by 11:00AM

Mountain View could become a model city for homeless advocacy

Like this comment
Posted by Homeless Man
a resident of Castro City
on Jul 28, 2018 at 7:52 pm

In response to cgloyear:

You are very unsympathetic in regards to the misfortunes of others.

Like this comment
Posted by Incredible
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 29, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Judging by some of the responses, I imagine there are those who wish Google had donated $1M in bicycles so the homeless could ride away into the sunset.

Like this comment
Posted by kd
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2018 at 3:39 pm

I live only a couple blocks from Trinity and I am so impressed with the great things being done at Hope's Corner, without harming our neighborhood. If you've ever volunteered there you will know that not only are food, showers and shelter available, but HC assists people in getting access to programs they need to get their lives back on track.

If you haven't volunteered there, check it out. It is amazing and I'm proud we have this in our community.

I do agree however that the city's requirement that Hope's Corner require anyone staying in the shelter to leave at 7am is ridiculous. How about 9am so mom's can walk kids to school instead of having to wander around in the neighborhood for an hour?

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

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