In Silicon Valley, People Can’t Afford Houses So They’re Living In Parked RVs

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Written by Dana Sanchez
Living In Parked RVs

There’s growing resentment among homeowners in Mountain View, Calif., as more and more temporary dwellings such as vans an RVs show up on the streets — symptoms of Silicon Valley’s affordable housing shortage.

Mountain View is home to Google, Y Combinator, Symantec, LinkedIn, Samgsung Research, and about 120 other mostly tech-related companies

The average salary in Mountain View is $110,193, according to Payscale.com. And the average rent is $3,235 a month for an 832 square-foot apartment in Mountain View. Even if you’re left with 70 percent of your salary after taxes and deductions, the numbers just don’t work.

The Mountain View city council recently banned vehicles taller than six or seven feet tall from parking overnight on public roads, Business Insider reported. That’s a problem for those living in the motor homes and trailers.

Some Silicon Valley homeowners are opposed to people living in parked RVs and other affordable housing being built in their communities that could bring down the value of their properties. Two years ago at a city hall meeting in nearby San Jose, residents opposed to building more affordable housing chanted “build a wall,” referring to their wish to keep homeless people out of town.

In December, Mountain View police counted almost 300 RVs that appeared to be primary residences, The Real Deal reported. Some of the RV residents work for some of Silicon Valley’s largest companies, like a security guard at Google and a Lyft driver.

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Tech companies such as Google often get blamed for creating increased demands on the housing market that send rent and home prices soaring. Google has donated more than $14 million since 2014 for homelessness solutions in the Mountain View area. A Google-sponsored 67-unit affordable-housing apartment complex barely impacts the housing crisis faced by locals.

It’s no different in Berkeley, Palo Alto and other Bay Area cities.

The RV ban is expected to go into effect before late 2020. That will allow time for residents to prepare, according to the Mountain View Voice.

Alison Hicks, a council member who voted against the RV-parking ban in Mountain View, said Silicon Valley towns need a diverse workforce that can afford housing. The workforce is more than just highly paid tech workers. It’s also trash collectors, teachers and nurses. “To have a regular functioning town,” Hicks told Bloomberg, “you need to have occupational diversity.”