In San Francisco and Oakland, tents are a symbol of the homeless problem. But in the Peninsula and South Bay, from Palo Alto to Mountain View to Gilroy, RVs have become that symbol. On El Camino Real this year, right alongside Stanford University, about 50 RVs and trailers have been parked bumper to bumper. According to Brian Greenberg, a homeless advocate and psychologist at the local group LifeMoves, there’s an ‘in-betweenness’ about living in RVs because you’re not quite homeless but your living situation is insecure. Angela Anderson-Williams, a 50 year old that lives in an RV while working two jobs and going to college two days a week to try to get into real estate, states:
It’s kind of really sad that those people who work to keep the Silicon Valley going can’t even afford to live here. How could you not want greatness being here, you know?
According to Greenberg, about 85 percent of the heads of household of the homeless families he sees are employed. To make matters worse, when local groups tried to build affordable housing in 2013, they were shut down by Palo Alto voters. There are no permanent homeless shelters, but a few churches offer about 20 spots to sleep per night. According to Liz Kniss, Palo Alto’s vice mayor, Palo Alto isn’t ready to agree that the RVs are a symptom of an affordable housing problem. At least people in the South Bay can try to stay afloat by living in RVs until cities become more productive in helping out with the housing crisis.