When Menlo Park-based nonprofit LifeMoves opened its interim shelter program in Mountain View in 2021, it came with high hopes of making homelessness a thing of the past.
Our monthslong investigation found that the program is struggling to house its clients as quickly or effectively as it set out to do. There are also deeper, systemic barriers that make it difficult for any interim shelter model like LifeMoves Mountain View to succeed.
Client stories and county data show LifeMoves Mountain View is falling short of its promises
After interviews with more than 15 former and current clients, as well as review of city staff emails, court documents, police reports and program exit data, our investigation found that LifeMoves Mountain View isn't meeting many of its promises. Multiple clients said they never received specialized support in their search for housing, their grievances went unheard, and that conflict was mishandled by both program directors and staff.
And according to county data, LifeMoves Mountain View places clients in permanent housing at a significantly lower rate than other interim shelter programs in the county, ranking close to the bottom.
Without enough affordable housing, interim shelters struggle to succeed
Underlying the challenges that LifeMoves faces in getting its residents housed is something that experts and advocates say no shelter or city can fix on its own: There's simply not enough affordable housing in the Bay Area for everyone who needs it.
Five key takeaways
Don't have time to read the full stories? Check out our top findings.
How we reported this story
Visual Journalist Magali Gauthier and Staff Writer Malea Martin explain how they investigated the story, found sources and put it all together.