Homelessness Study, Survey and Strategy

 

For information about the Safe Parking Program, visit our Safe Parking Program page.

For information specific to Living in Vehicles, visit our Living in Vehicles Page.

STUDY, SURVEY AND STRATEGY

The Santa Clara County count of homeless residents serves as a baseline for the understanding of homelessness in the region.  This survey captures individuals and families sleeping in emergency shelters and transitional housing, as well as people sleeping on the streets, in vehicles, in abandoned properties, or in other places not meant for human habitation.  Mountain View homelessness nearly doubled from 139 in 2013, to 276 in 2015.  These numbers have risen further countywide in 2017.  For Mountain View there are 416 homeless, up by 51 percent from 2015.

For more than two years, the City has been studying ways to address the rise in homelessness and residents living in vehicles, guided by detailed reports on the feasibility of safe parking options, regional stakeholder input and a community census. We are looking for feasible solutions to short-term human services support while putting people back on the path to stable housing. These efforts affect both housed and unsheltered residents.

Shorter-term strategies include, providing basic human services designed to start those in need on the path to more permanent future housing. Services authorized by City Council on October 4, 2016 include:

  • Mobile showers, laundry, and an ADA compliant portable toilet
  • Free waste-tank caps to prevent leaks, with further analysis of additional waste management options
  • Regular street cleaning in areas with RV parking
  • Support for exploring cold weather shelter or safe parking programs by faith-based organizations
  • On-going review of RV parking areas to assess visibility and safety
  • A mobile Outreach Worker based at CSA and a Caseworker for the chronically homeless in coordination with the County to link homeless individuals to services.

Longer-term strategies include, services authorized by the City Council on March 7, 2017, extending several of the short-term solutions mentioned above including funding for continuing programs like the funding of a mobile Outreach Worker based Community Services Agency (CSA) and a Caseworker with the County until June of 2019.  These new programs help to connect residents to support and stable housing options.  Additional funding was also provided for a pilot RV waste disposal program.  The City Council also supported on-going work with other agencies and community based organizations, engagement to faith-community, monitoring safe parking options, enhancing homeless client surveys, continuing to develop measurable goals for the new programs and reviewing parking and signage. 

 

Latest Updates

The next update to the City Council on homeless initiatives will be June 11, 2019. ​The staff report of recommendations will be available as part of the agenda packet, posted no later than Friday, June 7.

March 19, 2019: The City recommitted to offering balanced solutions to address this complex issue.

At the March 19, 2019 Council Meeting, the City Council directed staff to draft an Oversized Vehicle Parking Prohibition Ordinance with exceptions including vehicles parked adjacent to their residence or business (property owner, tenant, or their guest), government authorities, utilities, emergency vehicles, and disabled placard or license plate holders; and to draft a Safe Parking Ordinance, including a streamlined temporary-use-permit (TUP) for churches to allow more than 4 vehicles per lot and that includes the temporary use of Shoreline Lot B through March 2020 (when Shoreline use for Safe Parking will end) and the use of a City-negotiated lot.  The Council also allocated an additional funding as part of the FY 2019-20 budget process to continue both enforcement and programs related to connecting those in need to services, homeless prevention and rehousing.  In addition, staff was directed to continue to engage with other state and county agencies for enforcement of the RV occupancy laws and legislative tools, rental of substandard RVs, and to review the short-term, emergency rental assistance program to make it more flexible and help more people.

While this approach will include an oversized vehicle parking prohibition, but also allocates nearly $900,000 in funding to continue services associated with the unstably housed and homeless in addition to just over $1 million the City has already funded in the last two years on programs and services. At the same time, there will be an expansion the Safe Parking Program with a possibility of as many as 60 parking spaces provided along with continuing other services with the goal of putting people back on the path to permanent, supportive and stable housing.

The full report and attachments will be available HERE when posted under the 2019-03-19 Council Agenda Packet.

The 2018-19 Living in Vehicles Survey closed for responses on January 31, 2019. City staff hand-entered and translated all returned paper copies of the survey into the same system by February 18, 2019. While data will be presented on March 19, 2019 at the City Council Meeting, you can access the results here  or by going by going to MountainView.gov/LivinginVehiclesSurvey

October 2018: On October 9, 2018, the Council provided direction for the implementation of a short-term safe parking program on a private lot to be operated by the local non-profit MOVE, and asked for a return update on homeless initiatives, including options for parking enforcement the first quarter of 2019.

October 9, 2018 City Council Meeting agenda

Homeless Initiatives Work Plan (updated July 2018).

August 2018: City funding and local partnerships with County services, regional nonprofits and local faith-based groups are seeking to transition local homeless and people living in vehicles to more stable living situations. As described in The View citywide residential newsletter, one prominent effort is a pilot safe parking program launched with the help of local faith-based groups. The City Council voted in March 2018 to provide additional funding for parking enforcement to address neighborhood and traffic safety concerns while the pilot program explores safe parking as an alternative to parking on City streets. The City is also involved in pilot programs for such things as sanitary services (Dignity on Wheels) and additional street cleanings.

Coordinated on-the-ground outreach is helping to check on the welfare of those living on the streets and address concerns from surrounding housed neighbors. A Community Services Agency (CSA) Outreach Worker, a Case Manager with Peninsula Healthcare Connections and a Mountain View Police Department Outreach Officer connect homeless people and people living in vehicles with the regional CSA Emergency Assistance Network and the County’s mobile health-care and supportive housing program and rapid-rehousing program.

July 2018:  Groundbreaking Event at Hope's Corner 

Congratulations to Hope's Corner at the Corner of Hope and Mercy in Mountain View! Today was the groundbreaking celebration for building a new commercial kitchen and laundry facilities, held at Trinity United. The new facilities will support Hope's Corner and a wide range of outreach and social services to the community. At the event, it was announced that a donation of $1M was made by Google to Hope's Corner to help address the needs of the most vulnerable in our community. Learn more about the new facilities at: www.hopes-corner.org

June 2018: Safe Parking "Lots of Love" Pilot Program

Lots of Love is a new, independent non-profit that has taken on the challenge to provide a safe space with overnight parking and supportive services for small pilot program assisting those in need in our community. They are an important part of a number of new safe parking programs in the region seeking to help the growing number of residents and regional employees living out of their cars and RVs. This program is funded by Santa Clara County and the City of Mountain View (Mountain View funding for the pilot program ($55,300 to June 2018- June 2019) County Funding for the pilot program ($287,525 to June 2018-June 2020).

The City supports this modest, but important contribution to addressing the 250-300 residents living in vehicles on Mountain View streets. This pilot program is not intended to be a solution to the affordable housing crisis, and is not the only answer to getting residents living in vehicles off neighborhood streets. The City and the County continue implementing a number of affordable housing strategies and supportive services for the most vulnerable unstably housed, homeless, and low-income families.

Lots of Love is a new, independent non-profit that has taken on the challenge to provide a safe space with overnight parking and supportive services for small pilot program assisting those in need in our community. They are an important part of a number of new safe parking programs in the region seeking to help the growing number of residents and regional employees living out of their cars and RVs. This program is funded by Santa Clara County and the City of Mountain View. Each supports this modest, but important contribution to addressing the 250-300 residents living in vehicles on Mountain View streets. This pilot program is not intended to be a solution to the affordable housing crisis, and is not the only answer to getting residents living in vehicles off neighborhood streets. The City and the County continue implementing a number of affordable housing strategies and supportive services for the most vulnerable unstably housed, homeless, and low-income families.

One church signed on and a number of others are considering it, and are going through similar outreach and engagement with their neighbors. Initial plans include three to four vehicles hosted at churches, which does not require a City permit as it is a compatible temporary use. A Temporary Use Permit (TUP) application would be required for hosting more vehicles and services on church property. Services will include case management by CSA with on-going engagement, and lot monitoring will be provided. There will be a number of ways you can reach out to the non-profit to offer feedback on the three-month pilot program; the aim of the pilot period is to ensure any issues are addressed. The Lots of Love pilot program starts on or about July 2, 2018.

  • To reach the Lots of Love telephone hotline call (650) 935-1141 or movemvemail@gmail.com (to report non-urgent, non-threatening situations).

March 2018: The City of Mountain View has been actively pursuing initiatives that would help local homeless and people living in vehicles get back on a path to permanent housing, while providing short-term emergency relief in the form of temporary pilot programs. In March 2018, City Council approved the continuation of these pilot programs, which leverage partnerships with County services, regional nonprofits and local faith-based groups. Although the March report to Council included additional options for parking enforcement, the Council chose not to significantly change parking restrictions until more options could be developed, such as the launching of a pilot safe parking program by local faith-based groups. The Council also added additional funding for elevated parking enforcement.

Through regional and local partnerships, the City has been able to coordinate pilot programs for such things as local waste-dumping services, sanitary services and additional street cleanings. The City has also helped to fund more on-the-ground outreach. A Community Services Agency (CSA) Outreach Worker, a Case Manager with Peninsula Healthcare Connections and a Mountain View Police Department outreach officer have been working to connect homeless and people living in vehicles with available services from the regional Emergency Assistance Network, including the County’s mobile health-care program and programs for supportive and/or rapid-rehousing. The on-the-ground outreach provides coordinated process to check on the welfare of those living on the streets and to assist surrounding housed neighbors with any concerns.

October 24 City Council Study Session Update

At the affordable housing study session, staff estimated that the City’s various housing fee programs would generate approximately $78 million over the next four years, based on the current projects that are in the pipeline. Staff recommended that approximately $50 million be invested in general affordable housing developments at 60% AMI and below for a goal of 350-400 units, and up to $28 million for permanent supportive housing/rapid rehousing for a goal of 200-250 units. The City Council supported this investment strategy. Staff is working with the County, non-profit developers, and external partners to explore how to achieve this goal.

2017: September 17 and November 28 (follow up) City Council Study Session Update

At the affordable housing study session, staff estimated that the City’s various housing fee programs would generate approximately $78 million over the next four years, based on the current projects that are in the pipeline. Staff recommended that approximately $50 million be invested in general affordable housing developments at 60% AMI and below for a goal of 350-400 units, and up to $28 million for permanent supportive housing/rapid rehousing for a goal of 200-250 units. The City Council supported this investment strategy. Staff is working with the County, non-profit developers, and external partners to explore how to achieve this goal.

Implementing a Three-pronged Strategy

Committed More than $1 Million Dollars to Over the Next Two and a Half Years

Though we have been looking at this issue for some time, most of the resource-intensive initiatives being implemented are NEW.  A new Mobile Outreach and Casework Program began in March 2017, a new Community Outreach Officer was deployed in July 2017 and longer-term affordable housing strategies were considered in September 2017.

These initiatives follow the City’s three-pronged strategy, which is expected to take at least two years to help those in need and assist our neighborhoods:

  • Implement several short-term initiatives aimed at providing basic human services designed to start those in need on the path to more permanent future housing. This includes a new mobile social worker outreach at CSA jointly funded by the City and County, and case manager program with Peninsula Healthcare Connections.
  • Explore several long-term strategies to increase the overall housing supply with an emphasis on affordable housing.

  • Dedicate a new Community Outreach Police Officer to further enhance and coordinate community outreach and law enforcement operations (newly funded as part of the Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget).

We are also continuing to combine our efforts with other local and regional agencies to make a more substantial impact. Through the help of County of Santa Clara, community and faith-based groups, and members of the Santa Clara County EAN, like theCommunity Services Agency of Mountain View (CSA), we now have a better understanding of our local needs.

Continued outreach and regional cooperation has allowed us to ramp up outreach for homeless prevention services and homeless case management to address the unique needs of each individual. Some of the existing services we’re connecting people to include: CSA’s food and nutrition program; Mountain View’s Senior Nutrition Program at the Senior Center; showers, breakfast and CSA social worker access at Hope’s Corner, and showers and laundry services through Dignity on Wheels at CSA.

As we move into winter months, we are also working with the County on a proposed pilot program, funded by the County for a cold weather shelter at the Trinity United Methodist and will provide a pilot program for RV-waste disposal services.  (News:  Cold Weather Shelter Opens in Mountain View)

 

Related Council Reports

Update on Initiatives to Assist Homeless and Unstably Housed, and Consideration of Parking Enforcement Options — City Council Report, March 7 2018 (Item 7.1).

Affordable Housing Priorities and Strategic Framework – City Council Study Session Report , September 12, 2017.

Strategies to Assist the Homeless and Unstably Housed Residents –  City Council Report, March 7, 2017.  

Update on Efforts Related to Homeless Residents Living in Vehicles, and Consideration of Direction on Options – City Council Report, October 4, 2016.  

Action plan

Within the larger direction established by Council at the October 2016 and March 2017 Council meetings linked above, staff developed a fifty (50) item work plan of action items (Homeless Initiatives Work Plan). Click here for a the work plan progress as of December 2017.  City continues to look at solutions and options. Status is summarized below and a further update on the homeless initiatives and enforcement options will be provided to the City Council on March 6, 2018:

    • 33 Action items are completed
    • 11 Action items have been implemented and are now ongoing
    • 5 Action items are in progress
    • 1 Item is on hold 
         

Mountain View Code on living in vehicles

It is helpful to understand that vehicles used for sleeping are not illegal if the vehicle complies with other laws. Enforcement of the Mountain View City Code Chapter 19, Article IX Section 19.111(c), which prohibits vehicles parked on public streets from being used for dwelling purposes has been suspended in light of recent case law on this issue. In Desertrain v. City of Los Angeles, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a similar provision of the City of Los Angeles City Code was unconstitutional. 

The City continues to enforce other code provisions such as vehicles parking for more than 72 hours when applicable. Visit this helpful webpage. 


 

Resources Available

Click here for helpful link resources available to homeless and neighbors.

Feedback