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New census shows Mountain View homeless population growing

Original post made on Jun 30, 2017

Call it Exhibit A of Silicon Valley's worsening housing crisis – a new Santa Clara County homeless census has found a spike in the number of people living on the street in Mountain View and several nearby cities.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 30, 2017, 5:10 PM

Comments (37)

Posted by One apt for a homeless person
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jun 30, 2017 at 7:23 pm

The City City should require a landlord to rent one apartment cheap or free to one otherwise homeless person. That way, the City Council can congratulate itself on adding to its effort to reduce homelessness!

Posted by Shonda Ranson
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Thanks for covering this issue, Mark.

I wanted to make sure that people knew the City of Mountain View has already dedicated more than $1 million for pilot programs and community partnerships for both the short-term and long-term. You can see more about what the City has been working on and some of the future plans to help these vulnerable members of our community.

Web Link

-Shonda Ranson
City of Mountain View
Communications Coordinator

Posted by al
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 30, 2017 at 10:58 pm

This is America, where capitalism is king. There is nothing wrong with foreign investors buying up all the properties - thats' how capitalism works - the ones with the most money always win.!

When native americans where displaced, we glorified the pilgrim staking a piece of FREE property. When latino and blacks were displace in SF and now in Oakland, we welcome the white yuppies taking over neighborhoods.

So now when white america is being displace by the capitalist system they once dominated they CRY FOWL

Posted by Proud Taxpayer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 1, 2017 at 12:37 am

Why does Mountain View have a 51% increases when the county has only a 13% increase? And at the same time Santa Clara and Sunnyvale have -28% and -12% Decreases? San Jose only went up 7%. Could it be because Mountain View will give your car a ticket if you park over three hours downtown, but give you a pass if you park over three days on Crisanto or Yuba.

Posted by DDD
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2017 at 9:27 am

That's what happens when you don't build enough housing, the people at the bottom gets priced out.

Posted by @al
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 1, 2017 at 10:53 am

You say capitalism is king, but the article doesn't seem to be aware of that because it misses tons of capitals!

Posted by Distinction
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 3, 2017 at 2:55 pm

There's a tremendous difference between "Mountain View Homeless Population Growing" and "Mountain View Residents Forced to Live on Streets"

The first is not (in the overwhelming majority of cases) caused by the second. The MV homeless population is growing because RV-living is tolerated, the few regulations the city has are not enforced, and people from other areas are coming to the MV sanctuary in droves.

Posted by RV living sounds great
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 5, 2017 at 12:41 pm

I think it's a great deal that Mountain View tolerates people setting up camp in RV's on public streets. In a few short years when my children graduate and go off to college, I will buy a nice RV and park it in the best neighborhood in Mountain View. Cuesta Park or Blossom Valley maybe? Then I will rent out my own home (mortgage already paid off so I'll get max profit) and live off the rental profits. This way I don't need to continue working. This is the best early retirement plan I can think of.

I'd feel a tad sorry for the residents in Cuesta Park, but then again, the city of Mountain View has no problem letting people living in RV's ruin my neighborhood, and there's no reason other neighborhoods shouldn't share in the joy. I'm really not kidding. I'd be perfectly happy to live in a large, brand new RV if I could then retire early. Thank you Mountain View city council. What a gift.

Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2017 at 1:15 pm

The only thing ruining the neighborhood is greed and selfishness by homeowners not wanting to grow to accommodate the rising Bay Area population. You think people wouldn't be living in RVs if there were enough apartments to go around? Instead what little there is gets bid up to insane levels, people get forced out it their homes, and people end in living in RVs to get around it. Support more high-density housing or watch this problem get worse.

Posted by Except for Facts
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Most of the homeless are not from Mtn View. Most of the increase has come from the demise of the largest homeless encampment in the nation: The Jungle in SJ. That population scattered. You could see it start the following week after the Jungle raids and it kept coming.
This is not an issue of caused by not enough housing in MV and it will not be fixed by simply building more houses. We're dealing with psychological issues, addition issues, run-away issues, and the list goes on and on. There is no magic bullet fix such as build more houses.

Also, always beware of the "Ooga Booga" posts warning of a terrible future if you don't agree with the poster's take on things, no matter how silly it sounds.

Posted by Amused
a resident of another community
on Jul 5, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Maybe the RV dwellers are just trying to minimize their TCE exposure.

Posted by Road King
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2017 at 5:14 pm

RV dwellers are no more homeless than mobile home residents.

Posted by Did you read the report
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 5, 2017 at 8:09 pm

How many people actually read the report (see link)? I'm guessing that the comments here are mostly people's opinions rather than the data... "I saw some people living near me, so let me tell you about them!"

For instance, read it and you'll learn most people are white people and most are dealing with some form drug or alcohol issues, and they have very little monthly income to speak of. Many have lost their jobs.

As the data shows, these are not middle class people living out of a nice RV.... Let's show some compassion, people.

Posted by Did you read the report
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 5, 2017 at 8:27 pm

One more thing about my prior post.. see the table on page 29 of the report called Employment and Income.

Almost everyone from the survey is making less than $449 / month .. 92% of them are unemployed.

So the data doesn't support the belief that the issue here is your personal rent.... It's not greedy landlords.

It's drugs, alcohol, it's unemployment, it's lack of social services.... these are the things that jump out of the report.

Posted by Emilie Handschyn
a resident of another community
on Jul 5, 2017 at 9:21 pm

We've lived in this area since 1958 and learned over the decades that the more social services, programs, general freebies a community offers the more people will come and take advantage of them. In that regard nothing has changed. When communities cram ever more people into an area of course prices for living quarters will rise just as they rise for everything else.

Posted by Fish
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 5, 2017 at 10:24 pm

Teach a man to fish and he'll feed himself. Give a man a fish and he'll wait for you to bring the next one.

OK, oversimplification but absolute truth. @Except for Facts and @Emilie see and know and understand.

This continued insistence that people have a "right" to live someplace is the same as giving the fish instead of teaching to fish. I don't understand why one would want to encourage people to try to continue to live in an area that has obviously gotten to be too expensive. WHY? Why would you try to keep people here who cannot afford basic living? It's ridiculous and actually I'll put out there that you're trying to create a slave labor/slave mentality.

Wouldn't it be better to encourage people to make smart choices? Smart decisions? Albeit hard ones?

Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2017 at 12:37 am


I couldn't agree more. No one has a right to live anywhere, and we shouldn't continue to encourage or subsidize people who choose to live in an expensive area when they otherwise couldn't afford it. I thus look forward to you abandoning your Prop 13 property tax subsidy and practicing what you preach.

Posted by Subsidy
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 6, 2017 at 8:05 am

Prop13 is not a simple subsidy. It is merely a property tax with strict limits. It rewards those landowners with more tenure. The subsidy part comes in when children are allowed to inherit the property w the same base. Or when seniors are allowed to sell and carry their base to other Counties. The same applies to disabled people. Or when companies sell their business, which includes property. Just because some property owners pay more does not means they are subsidizing other property owners with more tenure.

Posted by Big Government
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2017 at 11:23 am

The people against prop 13 only want one thing, BIG Government. Prop 13 doesn't mean your property tax does not go up, indeed it does, by 2% each year. That's big money increases.

Prop 13 protects property owners from runaway increase to property taxes by govt officials. Big govt wants nothing more than to steal more money from it's citizens.

Prop 13 is not the problem it's unions and govt officials not knowing how to live within their budgets.

Some say Prop 13 hurts our schools and of course the CHildren.

"A strong surge in real estate transactions, new commercial and residential construction and rising housing prices should generate a $3-plus billion increase in property tax revenues for schools and local governments during the current fiscal year." 7/2016 Sac Bee

So our schools will do fine with an additional 3 billion.

Capitalism is what made America great, not Socialism. Socialism is a complete failure, just look at the old USSR. I guess the Bernie crowds don't study history.

I used to live in Palo Alto but moved to Mt. View because prices were better. If prices in SJ are better than here i'll move there. One has to live within one's means. Even in days gone by one could not live alone on minimum wages. That's why people have roommates.

Posted by Opinions Opinions Opinions
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2017 at 11:40 am

"...just look at the old USSR. I guess the Bernie crowds don't study history."

I didn't vote for the man but to compare him with the old USSR is pretty silly.
I guess some people didn't study or maybe just didn't understand what Bernie was preaching because it certainly was NOT the failed policies of the USSR. That's a bad comparison, though I hear many apply it because, though indeed false, it helps support their argument, but that argument is based in falsehoods so...yah.

Posted by Distinction
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 7, 2017 at 9:51 am

I hope the MV Council has taken note that in the past week, Palo Alto has announced an initiative to clamp down and enforce their 72 hour rules...first with warnings, then citations and possible towing.

The articles have said Palo Alto has been in contact with neighboring cities, realizing the potential migration impacts.

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 7, 2017 at 10:05 am

I used to be a long time Prop 13 supporter, but I finally realized that people do have a right to live near where they work. High cost-of-living is a crisis that affects all of us and all of our communities, and the subsidy I've been receiving is immoral and bad for our community.

Posted by Think About It
a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2017 at 2:48 pm

If we actually cared for each other this would not be a problem.

All of us are to blame... we need to stop pointing fingers at each other and ask ourselves how can we as individuals and groups help?

Talk to the homeless.. they know what their needs are.

Posted by How quickly we forget
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 10, 2017 at 9:56 am

The prop 13 haters crack me up. Prop 13 was originally passed as a way to help low income people, especially elderly people stay in their homes. Before prop 13, older people, often single old ladies on social security were being forced from their homes - homes they had spent years paying for while working. They had paid off mortgages and diligently paid property taxes until the property tax increases had become astronomical due to the increased popularity in this area. Society rightly realized this wasn't fair. When someone buys their home, spends 30 years paying it off and is expecting a particular tax rate every year when they have limited income in retirement, it is silly to kick them out because they can't pay the ridiculous and unexpected property tax increases. This isn't greed, this is compassion. It surprises me how quickly people forget how this all came about and how prop 23 is now viewed as halping only the wealthy and not the poor. It is possible prop 13 could be due for some changes and updating (I'm not sure why commercial buildings are covered???) but it was never initially design to help the rich, it was designed to help the poor.

Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Prop 13 was absolutely dressed up as a moral undertaking to protect grandma from getting kicked out of her home. But you can accomplish that with tax deferments for financial hardship. No, Prop 13 was just a way for people to cut taxes for themselves once they'd already taken the benefits of California's once great educational system, while feeling morally justified because it happened to accomplish the above while ignoring the other massive negative impacts it would have.

Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 10, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Thank you for pointing out some of the history, How Quickly. As "YIMBY" once again obligingly demonstrates, "Proposition 13" is nowadays exploited as a rhetorical tool by people who weren't present at the time and have evidently not even bothered trying to dispassionately understand the context from which it emerged -- instead just lashing out at it as one of several symbolic scapegoats. Another point about Prop 13's advent is that it put a stop to politicians' opportunistic abuse of property taxes as yet another ATM to be compulsively, graspingly exploited in the unquenchable need for funds to repay political debts to the politicians' real constituencies, the groups and cronies that had a lot to do in practice with getting them elected (organized public-employee lobbies among others). I remember the public outrage over the plum salaries being paid to well-connected recipients of even unskilled public-sector jobs, out of those same taxes that were forcing those elderly people from their homes.

Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2017 at 7:07 pm

Again, you can prevent Grandma from being kicked out of her home with tax deferments for financial hardship. Prop 13 was an across the board tax cut that turned California real-estate into an investment vehicle that incentives scarcity. It's why California has the lowest rate of new home ownership in the nation. You've essentially screwed over future generations just so you could enrich yourself in the now.

Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 12, 2017 at 9:42 am

Prop 13 is compassion for people who work and build a community. People moving here now will reap the same benefits - if they bother to stick around and continue to build the community.

Eliminating Prop 13 will not only punish people who work for a living by forcing them to relocate when they are no longer working, it will also punish the community they have built, which was so attractive to the new people in the first place.

There is no reason long-time residents should have to foot the bill to ruin the communities they have built. The Mountain View city council feels like they are on a mission to jam as many people as will fit into the city in shoebox-sized apartments. They don't consider infrastructure or any other ramifications to their foolish and ill-considered actions other than the fact that they get more money to squander. The quality of life for residents is last on their list - if it is even considered at all.

As for low-income/affordable housing, there will be plenty in the future. When Google folds or leaves town, all those shoeboxes will empty out. Then Mountain View can really be like one of those big cities the council members want to emulate. We can be just like Detroit.

But don't worry, we'll still have a Baskin Robbins. Isn't it interesting how that aged little shopping center hasn't been touched by "progress"? I wonder why...

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 12, 2017 at 10:06 am


What exactly have you done to build a community here?

Posted by Proud Taxpayer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 12, 2017 at 2:40 pm

There would be a lot more sympathy for the street campers if they made some offer to pay their way. Every household in Mountain View pays roughly $100/month for water, sewer, and trash services. If they want to enjoy the benefits of living here, they should be willing to pay for some of those.

Posted by Lol
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 12, 2017 at 3:56 pm

@psr. Are you suggesting that someone in power is in the way of re-developing the dumpy stripmall at El Camino and Miramonte where Baskin Robbins sits? Who owns that property?

Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 13, 2017 at 2:44 pm

As much as people say socialism was a failure.. they aren't really paying attention in the United States.

When the majority of your GDP goes to entitlements.. you're a socialist country.

I'm not in favor of it mind you.. but I'm willing to admit capitalism is losing to socialism when I see it.

And 25% of those entitlements are paid for on credit. It's too stupid to make up.

Posted by Old timer
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Let's be more constructive.
Here is a link to a very good article about housing issues from the supply side:

Web Link

One must understand that cost of housing is all relative to new construction costs.

Europeans are more creative:

Web Link

Hope these links are not removed, as it is the most effective way to post.

Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

@Old Timer - In Europe they don't build so as to bring in 10 office workers per single family unit available. They also have a lot more open space for those prefab units in your link. I hope you noticed that the European 1200 square foot prefab (made by the evil RUSSIANS!) was $80,000 and the silicon valley 264 square foot micro-prefab unit is.....$85,000!!! So no, European solutions simply won't work here. It is like trying to replace your cars' spark plugs with bananas, the systems, economies and cultures are just too completely different.

The answer is simple as I have repeatedly stated here; STOP BUILDING NEW OFFICES! Mountain View is becoming Office View. There is no reason for a landlocked 12 square mile city to be trying to squeeze in every new office possible (as well as replacing retail and housing with new offices) when we already have a severe housing shortage.

As long as the city keeps doing that, you can expect the rents and homeless problem to get worse. (For reference, see: San Francisco and Manhattan).

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 18, 2017 at 10:10 am

@ Mvresident2003

I volunteer at both local churches and schools, as well as the local scouting troop. As a member of a local service organization, I work with patients of the VA hospital who have suffered injuries in the defense of our country. I have also done some work helping with local community events such as the Art & Wine Festival. I am alert to unusual activity in my neighborhood and report suspicious activity when I see it. In addition, I am a good neighbor in that I keep my property in good condition and help my neighbor when they need it. I should add that I do that in addition to paying my taxes just like other folks.

What is it that you do to build community here?


As long as the Baskin Robbins is owned by a member of the city council, I seriously doubt that that strip mall will be disrupted in any way.

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 18, 2017 at 12:43 pm

[Post removed; be respectful of other posters]

Posted by Clarification
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 18, 2017 at 3:45 pm


To clarify...Councilman McAlister owns the business. He DOES NOT own the property.

In fact, it seems like overkill that he must recuse himself on virtually all matters pertaining to El Camino Real, even though he only leases (not owns) a 25 yard stretch of property along a multi-mile route. (If the discussion were about parking along that particular stretch of El Camino, sure. But to be forced to recuse on the topic of a dedicated VTA lane was silly.)

Sorry for the digression.

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