New amenities offered for RV dwellers in Palo Alto

Two Santa Clara County cities have joined forces to help improve the lives of those living in RVs.

On Friday, vehicle-dwellers at a safe space parking lot in Palo Alto gained access to the next quality of life issue.

"What we’re trying to do now is move beyond spaces and really move into improving their living situations," said Reverend Brian Leong, founder of the nonprofit MOVE Mountain View.

Residents using the 12 safe spots on the lot now have access to showers, laundry machines, library books, and clothing for job interviews.

"I think it’s a labor of love. I think that we see our families are in need. Just because you live in an RV doesn’t necessarily mean the facilities in your RV work," said Amber Stime, the program director of MOVE Mountain View.

Tens of thousands of dollars and time were needed to transform what was an old fire station, into a room with added value.

"I love it. Very nice," said RV resident Javier Godinez as he toured the amenities with other dignitaries.

MOVE Mountain View started in 2018 with six safe spaces. It now has 112 in Mountain View and Palo Alto. But the problems facing unhoused residents and those living in RVs continue to grow.

"We have to go farther, faster, and do more if we’re ever going to catch up and surpass the need that exists in our valley," said Joe Simitian, District 5 representative on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

Participants are hopeful the simple pleasures most people take for granted will be a guide for what life can be like for all those struggling to find permanent housing.

"For cities to see that it works in our particular context is important. And hopefully, they’ll open up their doors and open up their spaces so that we can expand the program over time," said Leong.

He said the families that stay at the Palo Alto safe parking lot are typically cycling through over the course of three months. Services at the site do lead them to permanent housing.