Meeting to discuss Waverly Park homeless housing

Water district-owned houses in Mountain View could be offered to homeless residents

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is holding a community meeting in Mountain View on Wednesday to solicit feedback on a plan to get homeless residents out of the creek and into district-owned homes in the Waverly Park neighborhood.

The water agency owns 19 homes in the neighborhood along Stevens Creek, including properties on Diercx Drive, Franklin Court, Franklin Avenue, Pastel Lane and Sleeper Avenue. These single-family homes currently serve as market-rate rental properties. Last November, the district's Homeless Encampment Ad Hoc Committee suggested that as these homes become vacant, the water district could work with Santa Clara County's Office of Supportive Housing to allow homeless families to move in.

The proposal was intended to help cut down on the millions of dollars it takes to clean homeless encampments along the county's waterways, which has cost taxpayers $3.5 million over the last three years.

The water district's Board of Directors welcomed the suggestion, but ultimately tabled the proposal after nearby residents complained they weren't informed about the proposal and didn't have enough information on who might be living in the neighborhood. Others complained that the location is not suited for homeless families because of its distance from public transportation, grocery stores and other services.

The board indicated at the meeting that any action on how to use the properties would need to be done "in agreement" with the city of Mountain View, though it's not clear whether the city would block the proposal. Mayor Ken Rosenberg sent a letter to the district last year, in his then-capacity as vice mayor, stating concerns that the homes would be ill-suited for homeless housing.

The meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. at Huff Elementary School, located at 254 Martens Avenue. The water district also extended its invitation to the county Office of Supportive Housing and Mountain View's housing department.

"Understanding and addressing the concerns of our neighbors are critical to the Board and District in developing pragmatic, yet impactful policy and programmatic proposals," according to a statement by the water district.


54 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2017 at 2:36 pm

There are no homeless "families" in the creek.

Homeless families typically receive priority access to shelter services. If the parents insist on living outside the shelter system, social services will place the children in state state custody.

The homeless living in the creak are all single adults, many whom have substance abuse or mental health issues that prevent them from participating in the traditional shelter system.

I'm not opposed to using the homes as emergency shelter for families going through a difficult time. However, I am admently opposed to filling the homes with vagrants that do not participate in the traditional shelter system. For some reason, the water district appears to be deliberately conflating these two approached.

73 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Willowgate
on Feb 14, 2017 at 2:58 pm

I'm still confused how the Water District thinks its charter includes housing the homeless. Telling the homeless they can use these houses is the worst possible decision. If the Water District truly wants to help they should provide all these homes at below market rent to teachers, fire and police officers, even water district employees. This is an expensive place to live. Providing over a dozen below market rent homes would be appreciated by any government employee in Mountain View or Sunnyvale.

14 people like this
Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 14, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Who came up with this idea? Clearly not a realist. I agree that most of the homeless who live 'rough' are not families. Mental illness, alcoholism and drug use is very common among this population. Some alternatives....

1. Rent the homes at market rate and donate the profits to government or non-profit agencies that provide housing for homeless families.

2. Put these homes in the Section 8 housing pool, the neighbors probably won't like that idea either but it is a far more reasonable use of the property than attempting to create 'group homes' for a unrelated homeless adults.

3. A third idea would be to rent these homes to school teachers at one third the market rate.

I don't see how placing homeless people in 19 single family homes will reduce costs. Are the residents placed in these homes going to pay for utilities, maintenance/repairs, landscaping costs, prop tax, linens, kitchen items, furniture, groceries? Are they going to keep the properties clean inside and out? These properties will become crash pads friends of the 'residents' unless there is someone on site managing the property (another cost). How much will water district costs really be reduced when you factor in all the startup and ongoing costs of this proposal? Anyone who owns a home knows what a money pit it can be, nevermind having 19 of them. I wonder how many Water District BOD members live in that guess is none.

5 people like this
Posted by Love
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 14, 2017 at 4:30 pm

From Matthew:

Then the King will tell those on his right hand, "Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me."

“Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?'

“The King will answer them, 'Most certainly I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' Then he will say also to those on the left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you didn’t give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me in; naked, and you didn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.'

“Then they will also answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn’t help you?'

“Then he will answer them, saying, 'Most certainly I tell you, because you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.' These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

136 people like this
Posted by Confused
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 14, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Why does the Santa Clara Valley Water District own 19 homes? Is this why my water bill has been so fricken high? Sell the homes and give the money back to the people! Geese.

124 people like this
Posted by WTH
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 14, 2017 at 4:47 pm

This idea is naive and preposterous for all the reasons cited in @MyOpinion's post above. Placing the homeless people living in the Creek in those homes without adequete 24/7 on site support and property management will create another Oakland Ghost Ship situation!

The Santa Clara Valley Water district should concentrate on DOING ITS JOB instead of turning itself into an amateurish charitable organization. Yes, find a way to put those homes to good use for low income families or teachers, but do it right. Sell the homes and donate the proceeds, or donate the homes to programs such as Catholic Charities or Habitat for Humanity.

8 people like this
Posted by @confused
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 14, 2017 at 6:52 pm

Confused you certainly are. Many of our neighbors appear to be clueless as well. The water district bought these creekside properties to ensure that they are monitored and maintained. They are subject to soil erosion and it was a lot cheaper to just buy the properties than do a massive project to shore up the bank.

The water district has been renting them out and is now considering to make them available to the homeless. It is sad that some of our neighbors are so heartless as to insist that this not happen. We have a social responsibility to help those less fortunate and real houses in a nice neighborhood could really be a turning point to some of these people.

30 people like this
Posted by Tom Means
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 14, 2017 at 9:11 pm

[Post removed due to poster using someone else's name]

59 people like this
Posted by Jonathan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 14, 2017 at 9:49 pm

First of all, families are already renting these homes. These homes are already at a below market rent. These families are my neighbors. The water district should leave these homes status quo.

The district has a problem with homeless contaminating the creeks. They were sued by the EPA with regard to a huge encampment on Coyote Creek and had to break it up.

Government agencies need to enforce rules and at the same time develop humane solutions. This is a bad solution.

3 people like this
Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 14, 2017 at 10:59 pm

Jonathan is saying these homes are already rented at below market rates to needy families, so that is a good thing right? So why displace the families living there now? Where will they go? Sounds like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Agree with Jonathan, if the homes are already rented to needy families leave as is. And as far as getting sued by the EPA, will there be an EPA in future? If Trump/Rick Perry have anything to do wtih it, unlikely.

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