Living in Vehicles and Homeless Information

The City proactively continues taking actions to address the challenging rise in homelessness and unstably housed individuals over the past four years. The City refers to this as the City’s “three-pronged strategy,” with most of the services becoming operational in the last three years. Elements of the three-pronged approach include funding basic hygiene services, outreach to assess needs and link people to comprehensive health and social services, and assistance to find housing. The City has also partnered with the County of Santa Clara and community-based organizations to develop short-term housing solutions including establishing a safe parking program.

The City is a committed and recognized leader in addressing the regional problem of insufficient housing supply, looking at all options, and taking meaningful actions by leading in areas such as:

  • Adopted an extension of the shelter crisis to provide flexible and streamlined options for safe parking permits
  • Supported the startup of a local non-profit to provide safe parking services
  • Worked to secure five active safe parking lots for Mountain View participants Mountain View – resulting in the City having the largest safe parking capacity in the County
  • Funded and completed the significant site preparations for three of these lots including providing water service
  • Created an innovative safe parking ordinance to ensure the public’s safety link to Muni-Code
  • Established a streamlined safe parking lot permit/approval process during a shelter crisis
  • Expanded land use options for sheltering (link to Muni-Code and link)
  • Updating our longer-term strategies to address needs (Link to the adopted Consolidate Plan)
  • Implemented domestic sewage prohibitions and Class II Bike Lane safety restrictions (link to Muni-Code)
  • Led the development longer-term state legislative solutions to promote safe parking for all cities in conjunction with Assemblymember Berman and Ting’s Offices (Link to AB 2553)
  • Supported the Human Relations Committee (HRC) Subcommittee Safe Parking Outreach, and the effort to secure additional safe parking lots for Mountain View participants
  • Updated the homeless needs assessment and goals for responding to homelessness for the 2020-2025 Consolidated Plan in support of Community Development Department
  • Served on committees for the County Community Plan to End Homelessness

    These actions have helped the City respond quickly to the COVID-19 crisis with immediate expansion of our safe parking programs. As planned and implemented by the City the last three-years, five Safe Parking Lots are now online to serve Mountain View participants – resulting in Mountain View having the largest safe parking capacity in the County.

    The current capacity for safe parking is 67 Oversized Vehicles (OVs) and up to 18 spaces for cars/passenger vehicles. During the COVID-19 crisis the safe parking lots were consistently hosting over 100 individuals.

    The two largest lots are operated on City-owned/controlled lots at Shoreline Amphitheatre and on Evelyn Avenue at the former VTA lot. A third opening in August to be operated on Terra Bella Avenue, which is provided in partnership with the Palo Alto Housing Corporation. Two smaller lots are operated on private faith-based organizations’ property.

    The City has worked with community nonprofits and other government stakeholders to provide assistance to homeless and unstably housed individuals during the COVID-19 crisis. These efforts include:
    • Modified four overnight 24/7 Safe Parking lots to offer 24/7 services, as a collaborative pilot with County and a third coming soon
    • Distributed multi-lingual information packets, masks, hygiene kits, and food packets delivered to homeless/unstably housed by the Police Community Outreach Officers
    • Continue to have bi-weekly calls with service providers to coordinate and maximize relief efforts
    • Created an Emergency Grocery Gift Card Program operated by CSA
    • Coordinated a food access multilingual listing for seven-day per week access
    • Redeployed staff to deliver food to seniors in need and offer multilingual assistance at CSA
    • Funded increased mobile showers at CSA
    • Facilitated the County’s Mobile Medical Unit access in the Downtown, at Rengstorff Park, and the medical van at the safe parking sites, and participated in the backpack medicine program
    • Provided portable restrooms and hand washing stations around the City
    • Provided Important Resource Links for or on-going updates, check out:
    • Homeless Shelters: All shelters are open 24/7, by referral. Mountain View Trinity United Methodist (748 Mercy St, Mountain View) and Sunnyvale (999 Hamlin Ct, Sunnyvale). Download the County Homeless Help Card
    • Safe Parking Lots / MOVE Mountain View - Safe Parking: Safe parking staff continues operations of the safe parking lots, observing direction from HUD specific to homeless services providers. They currently include:
      • Private Lots
        · St. Timothy's Episcopal Church (opened July 2018) - hosts up to 4 passenger vehicles
        · Lord's Grace Christian Church (opened July 2018) - hosts up to 4 passenger vehicles
        · 1020 Terra Bella Ave. - Palo Alto Housing Corporation (opened August 2020) - hosts up to 8 oversized vehicles and 1 passenger vehicle
      • City-owned or operated lots
        · Pioneer Way and Evelyn Avenue - former VTA transit lot (opened March 2020) - hosts up to 30 oversized vehicles (15 percent may be passenger vehicles)
        · Shoreline Amphitheatre Parking Lot B (opened February 2020) - hosts up to 30 oversized vehicles (15 percent may be passenger vehicles)
      • Contact: CSA for case management (650) 968-0836, MOVE Mountain View for operations,, (650) 861-0181
    • County of Santa Clara Office of Supportive Housing: is working closely with our local non-profits and service providers coordinating services., Call (408) 278-6400 or text 888777 for text messages about services.
    • Community Services Agency (CSA): Senior Nutrition Program services are providing a “To-Go” boxed meal distribution at the Community Services Agency. The food pantry shifted to pre-bagged food distribution on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Homeless Prevention and Homeless Services case management are being conducted by phone. Contact Community Services Agency (CSA): or (650) 968-0836. Office hours are M-F, 9 a.m.–noon and 1:30-4 p.m. at 204 Stierlin Road, Mountain View
    • Second Harvest Foodbank: To find out where the nearest grocery distribution besides CSA: Contact Food Connection hotline at 1-800-984-3663 Text “GETFOOD” to (408) 455-5181. Email us at or visit
    • School Food Distribution: for students under 18. Mountain View Whisman & Mountain View Los Altos HSD will have meals at Castro/Mistral School (505 Escuela Ave.) Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Lunch and Breakfast at a Food for Thought Truck- Grab and Go, drive up - curbside or walk up meals Breakfast and lunch, packed together. or
    • Hope’s Corner: Suspended the Thursday and Saturday shower and laundry program. On-site dining has been suspended, but breakfast and lunch are offered as “To Go” boxed meals. located at 748 Mercy St., Mountain View
    • Dignity on Wheels (DOW): Free mobile showers, washer and dryer services continue located at CSA on Tuesday’s 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    • MOVE Mountain View: bringing faith communities, non-profits and government agencies together to combat the effects of the growing crisis of homelessness in Mountain View and surrounding cities.
    • Click here for a full list of Emergency Assistance Network (EAN) partners in Santa Clara County

    For more information on actions the City has taken during this COVID-19 Pandemic, resources available to minimize spread and other important information, visit and follow City Hall on social media through,,, or subscribe on


    Latest Updates

    Links to Council Meetings on this Topic  

    October 30, 2020 Memo to City Council on City Initiatives for Homeless and Unstably Housed Residents

    March 27, 2020 Council Packet and Report (COVID-19 Relief Efforts)

    February 25, 2020 Council Packet and Report

    December 3, 2019 Council Packet and Report

    September 24, 2019 Council Packet and Report 

    June 11, 2019 Council Packet and Report

    April 9, 2019 Council Packet and Report

    March 19, 2019 Council Packet and Report

    December 11, 2018 Council Packet and Report

    October 9, 2018 Council Packet and Report

    March 6, 2018 Council Packet and Report 

    March 7, 2017 Council Packet and Report

    December 13, 2016 Council Packet and Report

    October 4, 2016 Council Packet and Report

    February 23, 2016 Council Packet and Report

    Santa Clara County Homeless Census and Survey

    On January 29 and 30, Santa Clara County conducted their bi-annual point-in-time (PIT) homeless count across Santa Clara County. While the Countywide summary was published in May, the city-by-city data was posted on July 12, 2019 and may be viewed or downloaded here: Santa Clara County 2019 Homeless Census and Survey

    Quick Mountain View-specific Summary

    2019 Mountain View Data:

    • Mountain View homelessness is up to 606 from 416 - a 46% increase in its homeless population from 2017.
    • Mountain View has the 3rd highest percentage increase in the County. Our neighbors, in Sunnyvale had the largest percentage increase recorded at 147%;  Palo Alto increased by 13%; and Los Altos went from reporting 6 in 2017 to 76 in 2019.
    • In terms of numbers, Mountain View has the 4th largest homeless population in the County.

    2019 Background Points:

    • The outreach and communications for the PIT process was increased to ensure a more accurate count.
    • There is a large increase in vehicle living count Countywide (from 591 to 1,747 Countywide).  Mountain View counts of living in vehicles have ranged from 200-300 over the last three years.
    • In Fiscal Year 2017-18, CSA served 597 homeless unduplicated individuals and in 2018-19 that number has risen further to well over 600.
    • The County Cold Weather Shelter at Trinity United Methodist Church (operated by HomeFirst) showed 32 “sheltered” homeless, which could be read as part of the increase in Mountain View.
    • Survey feedback included the lack of affordable housing availability experienced by respondents seeking it, along with the need for assistance with rent/mortgage payments, employment assistance, and alcohol/drug counseling to help prevent individuals from becoming homeless. 

    For background information, including studies, surveys and strategies and related Council reports, click here: Homelessness Study, Survey and Strategy


    The City understands concerns about maintaining the quality of life in Mountain View and balancing interests of those living in vehicles with those of our neighbors. While most residents living in vehicles abide by laws, Mountain View has continued to enforce other code provisions when applicable, such as illegal waste dumping or trespassing.

    • Both residents living in vehicles and neighbors are encouraged to contact the Mountain View Police Department (MVPD) when experiencing any emergency or safety threat by dialing 9-1-1.
    • For non-emergency concerns, call the non-emergency line at (650) 903-6395.
    • You may also report vehicles parked for more than 72 hours by calling our hotline at (650) 903-6358.

    The best way for people to help is to volunteer or donate money or items to members of the Emergency Assistance Network (EAN), which include the Community Services Agency here in Mountain View. Get more information about local EANs and the Community Services Agency in the links below.

    Santa Clara County Hotlines are also available:

    • Call 2-1-1 for Health and Human Services in Santa Clara County
    • Homeless Helpline: Call the County Office of Supportive Housing at (408) 793-0550 to ask for assistance or report a homeless person in need in Santa Clara County (excluding San Jose)
    • Homeless can register to receive text messages about services as by sending a text message to 888777


    Santa Clara County Hotlines are also available:

    • Call 2-1-1 for Health and Human Services in Santa Clara County
    • Homeless Helpline: Call the County Office of Supportive Housing at (408) 793-0550 to ask for assistance or report a homeless person in need in Santa Clara County (excluding San Jose)
    • Homeless can register to receive text messages about services as by sending a text message to 888777

    For questions about the City's homeless initiatives, use AskMV and choose "Homeless/Living in Vehicles" from the menu. 

    For questions about parking violations, use AskMV and choose "Police Department/Parking Enforcement" from the menu.

    Periodic updates are also available by, following the City's social media channels, which you can access through