There’s a housing crisis in one of the most affluent areas in the country. To make it even more shocking, it's at the doorstep of one of the world's most valuable companies: Google.
In Mountain View, Calif., home to Google and its parent Alphabet, housing and homelessness is rampant enough that the city is taking action.
Earlier this year, the Mountain View City Council voted to ban oversized vehicles, such as recreational vehicles (RVs), from parking overnight on city streets. This is expected to be enforced in the coming months.
Hundreds of people live in RVs in Mountain View because of exorbitant rents, according to the City. “The concentration of recreational vehicles has been a particularly visible sign of this issue,” a speaker for the city said at a March 19 meeting.
The median rent in Mountain View is now $4,151 a month, according to a report from Bloomberg. That’s almost twice what it was in 2010 and almost triple the national average, the report said, citing data from online real estate company Trulia. The median home value is $1.8 million more than double the $750,000 it was 10 years ago, Bloomberg reported, using data from Zillow.
At the March city council meeting, Mountain View residents and vehicle dwellers talked about the paradox of living in poverty in a place that is home to big tech and the mega-rich.
“I do not want to live in a town where the only people that can afford to be here are very, very rich techies and very, very old retirees like myself,” said one resident during the comment session.
“It’s not a secret that rent is very, very expensive here,” said a student who lived in a car at the meeting.
“I originally lived in an apartment but due to rent increases I was unable to afford that apartment,” said another student who had lived in their car.
Civil rights attorneys say the proposed ban appears to be designed to push poor residents out of the city, according to a report in the Mountain View Voice. If passed, Mountain View would be “skirting its responsibility to provide for its most vulnerable citizens,” the report said, paraphrasing a comment from a local attorney.
The most recent count done by the Mountain View police department cited 290 vehicles used for living.
The city has taken measures to correct the issue, but so far, they don’t seem to be having much of an impact. “The magnitude of the regional housing crisis and the complexities of homelessness have resulted in the needle not moving much in reducing the inhabited vehicles seen on Mountain View streets,” a speaker for the city said at the March 19 meeting.
RVs parked long term in the street can also create a pollution problem, such as illegal dumping of raw sewage. Recent Mountain View ordinances would make it illegal to discharge domestic sewage into a curbside gutter or storm sewer.
Fox News has reached out to the Mountain View City Council with a request for comment.