Homeless numbers jump 46% in Mountain View, 13% in Palo Alto

A man skates past a row of RVs in Mountain View. File photo.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Mountain View has the fourth largest homeless population in Santa Clara County, according to numbers released by the county.

During a one-day count in January, 9,706 people were found to be homeless countywide, a 31% increase from 7,394 in 2017.

Homelessness increased in most cities, including Mountain View, Palo Alto and Los Altos.

Mountain View had 416 homeless in 2017 and 606 in 2019, up 46%.

Palo Alto had 276 in 2017 and 313 in 2019, up 13%.

Los Altos had 6 in 2017 and 76 this year.

There was no breakdown in the report as to where most of the RVs are parked, but Mountain View counts have ranged between 200 to 300 in the last three years, according to the city. The last city count was 171.

Mountain View’s city council will be considering banning RVs parked on city streets between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.

The ban is set to go to council in the fall. At its June 11 meeting, the council agreed to opening two parking lots that would accommodate 60 RVs. The “safe parking program” would open up to 20 RVs at Shoreline Amphitheatre on a temporary basis, and to 40 RVs in a lot at E. Evelyn Avenue and Pioneer Way owned by VTA.

Palo Alto’s City Council indicated interest in starting a similar program at its June 10 meeting.

Most homeless people in Santa Clara County live outside, according to the count, at 34% or 3,300 people. Some 22%, or 2,135 live in shelters, 13%, or 1,261, live in “structures not meant for habitation,” and another 13% live in other situations.

Aside from Mountain View, San Jose (6,097), Gilroy (704) and Sunnyvale (624) have more homeless.

Some 1,784 people either have temporary housing in a shelter or are in what’s called “transitional housing programs,” where nonprofits help people find jobs and permanent housing. This is an 8% decrease from 2017, where 1,946 people were in such programs.

These numbers were released some 11 days after San Mateo County released numbers from its homeless count. Those numbers showed that 1,512 people were found to be homeless, a 21% increase from 1,253 in 2017.

Redwood City has the highest population of homeless in the county, at 221. Homelessness appears to have dropped in Menlo Park, according to the report. County volunteers counted 27 homeless people this year as opposed to 47 in 2017.

There are 107 in East Palo Alto, seven in Belmont and 28 in San Carlos.


  1. Of course they’re going to increase if you invite RVs to park on your streets and give them free services like Mountain View did. Voters, don’t be angry about this, you elected the city council who invited all these people. This is what happens when you go Socialust.

  2. If cities create lots for these RV campers, they’ll never go away. These lots will become future trailer parks. And if the city ever tries to shut them down, you’ll get all of these sob stories like when the owners of Buena Vista attempted to exercise their property rights and re-purpose that crime-ridden trailer park. Before you open a parking lot for RVs, understand that they’re going to be permanent fixtures in your community and you should increase your police and welfare budgets accordingly.

  3. This is a very attractive area but for the housing crisis. The folks are not squatting here for a vacation. They provide an important service to our community. You try to make ends meet at $15/hr and having to pay for an apartment. Yes, damned if you provide parking facilities, damned if you don’t. Yes, if you open 100 new spaces, 200 will show up. How can we build 5000 low-income housing units? Stop complaining about the current situation and focus on a solution.

    • So many issues here…failure to provide mental health and addiction facilities and assistance. Well-intentioned city councils who nonetheless lack the ability and necessary tenure to develop and execute long-term housing plans to address fundamental need. Finally, rent control and similar constraints, seeking to take private property into the public domain in order to mollify disgruntled constituencies and redirect blame for failed policies. The economics of new housing development are highly challenged, if not near impossible at market rents, let alone affordable rents for those in need. As such, developers are shutting down future housing projects.Investment capita, necessary to develop new housing and therefore add supply has chilled.

      The net result? Poor housing policies =‘s less supply. Less supply =‘s higher rents. Higher rents =‘s decreasing housing affordability. Decreased housing affordability =‘s decrease in community make-up, jobs, etc

      Add supply. Insist on set aside, affordable units. Provide incentives for aged housing inventory to redevelop at higher densities, particularly in Transportation Oriented sites in exchange for additional set aside affordable units in the redeveloped projects.

      Our leaders are reacting, not planning. Each decision is made, couched in the fear of offending a constituency.

      This will become much, much worse before it gets better. Why? New supply is shutting down as economics are declining and risk of regulation is increasing. Meanwhile, the streets are populated by those in search of shelter, whose desperation threatens all in our communities.


  4. The RV people in MV are counted as homeless? I think that is s typo. Ousted MV mayor Lenny Siegal called them vehicle-dwelling residents of Mountain View.

  5. You want to stop all of California’s problems?
    – Stop using a smart phone
    – Stop using Facebook
    – Stop using Twitter
    – Stop using Facebook’s other products
    – Stop using Gmail, Google, and Google’s other products
    – Stop using YouTube
    – Spend as less time as you can with visual-based technology
    – Stop playing video games
    – Stop encouraging programming in schools and on the entire job industry
    – Restrict the right to own a website and use a website with strict publication law.
    – Stop making clone apps with silly name renditions
    – Divide up Silicon Valley companies to other states
    – Put a Cap on Immigration
    – Stop Selling out Companies to China (look at the tainted meat coming from Smithfield and the rise in Diabetes)
    – Only watch the news for local channels, or read the actual printed paper. Watching a 24 hour news network is horrible for your mental health.
    – Never use video games as learning tools. If your children play video games, wean them off by the age of 18.
    – Restrict children’s right to profile-based websites, and publication-based websites until the age of 18. Email is fine.
    – Stop using, generating, or creating digital currency
    – Stop using Virtual Private Networks as your information is being collected by other International / National Servers.
    – 3-D Printing should not be a domestically bought item and should only be used in schools and businesses (some houses smell like plastic factories from the fumes these machines make).
    – Encourage children to be children and not to spend 90% of their time on computers, tablets or phones.
    – Schools- do not have a BYOD policy, and instead require students to use their own technology. Restrict review video recordings, and require students to take notes.
    – Encourage writing and reading over learning to type and use the Internet in first grade.
    – No obsessive news – like a certain obsession with the President. Time to cover everything else.
    – No more obsession with publishing your opinions online, unless you are writing a book, or if you (or one) has the background and data to back up their views — and you (they) are not using a popular social network site.
    – End computer-central vehicles- and require newly arriving immigrants and foreign travelers to go through a week-long driving school.
    – No more app-infused driving experiences.
    – Stop the minimalism trend, no more Tolix Chairs, let anyone be anything and encourage creativity even if the masses say it is “not logical”. Encourage kindness even if everyone can find something wrong with it or doesn’t work with their culture / intellectualism. Encourage lending a hand, even though everyone seems to want to sue everyone for anything. Be hospitable and don’t pretend to be. Laugh, because it is okay to don’t look to others to react happy. Smile, because in America it’s okay to smile.
    – Don’t stress and protest agendas, be the person you want to be and create what you hope to become. Life is not perfect.
    – Don’t relay what you hear, see, and even conspire for opinion, support, motivation and financial gain – even when it seems like “everyone is doing it”.
    – Lastly, don’t commit suicide, and parents spend more time with your parents and children because there is so much abandonment both ways that foreign families are a lot stronger than our existing American ones.

    -Individualism is not as strong as strength in numbers. And through those numbers, only you can become a true individual of yourself and your country.

  6. If they grew up in Palo Alto or Mountain View, my heart goes out to them. Our community should take care of them, find them housing, etc. If they came from outside – e.g., if Arizona bought them a one way ticket as has happened in the past, then you know, I don’t feel that sense of responsibility. We can only entertain so many homeless visitors.

  7. Although I know of a few tech workers that actually live like this temporarily while they are saving cash to purchase a home, I’d imagine most of these people are working low/minimum wage jobs, if working at all. Why not move to Sacramento or Reno? Home Depot, Wal-Mart etc pay the same there and housing is actually affordable.

  8. Other cities do not allow overnight parking for RVs therefore they are moving to Palo Alto and Mountain View where there is more leniency.
    I would not refer many of them as Homeless either. Many are working here to support the homes they purchased in the central valley. Many have well paying jobs, work for Uber and Lyft…And prefer to live rent free on our streets. Every city in the bay area needs to open an area for RV parking otherwise the RV population will continue to grow in Palo Alto and Mountain View.

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