In Pricey Bay Area, Some Residents Live On Streets In RVs

By John Orr
The Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) More and more people who don’t want to move out of the pricey bay area are turning to cars, trucks or recreational vehicles for shelter.

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Few would argue that the Bay Area is a great place to live, if you can afford it.

And that’s the rub. For every newly hired tech worker drawing a big salary, there’s a waitress or gardener or some other support worker who is getting priced out of a region where the down payment on a home can exceed $200,000 and rents continue to skyrocket.

At the beginning of this month, for example, a median one-bedroom apartment went for $2,120 in Mountain View and $2,470 in Palo Alto, according to

Two-bedroom units fetched $2,660 and $3,100, respectively.

So what happens to those who don’t want to move out of the area, commute here from distant cities or settle into homeless encampments?

More and more, they’re turning to cars, trucks or recreational vehicles for shelter.

“It’s difficult to know how many there are,” said Tom Myers, executive director of the Community Services Agency of Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. “Our clients at CSA … the last time they counted, as of about eight months ago, we had about 391 homeless clients, with about 89 living in vehicles. … The number of homeless has grown astronomically, exponentially.”

According to the Santa Clara County Homeless Census and Survey, the number of homeless people in Mountain View rose 51 percent in just two years, from 276 in 2015 to 416 in 2017.

“The whole idea of people living in vehicles … we’ve never seen that to the degree we see now. It’s a relatively new phenomenon for us and for the community,” Myers said.

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