The main purpose of Homeless In The Silicon Valley is to provide a place where homeless people can go to find services they need – sort of a central clearing house for lists like food banks, hot meals, shelters, support services, medical and any other service these unhoused people may find useful.
Another purpose is to make people aware of the growing problem of homelessness in the valley and surrounding areas
The Silicon Valley is the home of high tech as well as high incomes. As the need for high-powered engineers and software gurus increases, so does the housing market. More people competing for a dwindling supply of living quarters causes the cost to increase. Unfortunately there are many more people working in the Valley that serve in support jobs like waitresses, service workers, burger-flippers and even computer support people that are unable to afford the increasing rates.
People who own homes in mobile home parks are being forced out with no place to take their dwellings as land gets bought up for prices that the land owners can’t refuse. Many have abandoned their fully-paid-for homes and watched as they were turned into refuse and carted away. Rent controlled apartment buildings are being sold, leaving the residents on fixed incomes out in the street with no place to go. More and more middle management employees are finding themselves unable to afford the rising rents. The lucky ones find rooms in private homes to rent at prices they can afford. The unlucky ones are forced into their cars and even tents for a life on the street.
Homeless shelters are seeing all types of people seeking shelter on a cold night. Gone is the day where the mentally ill and illegal drug users are the only ones seeking refuge. I have seen middle managers in their 50s seeking shelter after they were laid off and their savings ran out. Many homeless shelters are currently full which leaves thousands of people on the streets to fend for themselves.
Food is another problem for the homeless. Many food banks are running short and cannot keep up with the demand. Some have closed their doors along with a few of the traditional soup kitchens. Even churches cannot keep up with the demand and many have stopped handing out food cards. Churches who were able to occasionally help people out who due to illness were short on their rent have stopped doing so. This is due to no permanent financial solution as it increasingly becomes a monthly need. Even the Salvation Army who has helped people with their rent in an emergency situations has dramatically cut back on the number of people they can help on a one-time basis.
This blog will show you what is happening in the homeless communities and show you the conditions under which many homeless live. It will also show what is being done in some communities to help the situation.
A big issue for many cities such as Mountain View is the rise of “campers.” I don’t know what paper in the Valley coined that phrase, but it is not what anyone would envision as camping out in the woods on a rustic vacation. The “campers” they are mentioning are sleeping in their cars, trucks and even small self-contained mobile campers. Vans, like the one pictured above, are a favorite. Encampments of hundreds of homeless people sleeping in tents below overpasses and even on the streets are increasing.
Hopefully Homeless In the Silicon Valley will encourage more people to help out those who are less fortunate than they are.
P.S. The original working title for this blog was Camping In the Silicon Valley.