Silicon Valley ‘Working Homeless’ Sleep In Cars As Tech Titans Live Like Kings

At the fringes of this dazzling techno mecca nestled on the Pacific coast of California, home to some of the world’s wealthiest individuals and corporations, a rising number of ‘working homeless’ serve as a lamentable footnote to the American Dream.

This is not a story of Americans who have, for any number of reasons, dropped out of the economy and are now living on the streets. This is a story of hard-working Americans who have jobs, sometimes two or three simultaneously, yet are unable to afford basic rent. These people have come to define a whole new sub-culture of Americans that was unheard of just several decades ago: ‘working homeless.’

Sad Valley?

The perennial issue of homelessness is not the first thing one would probably associate with Silicon Valley, which enjoys the status as one of the leading research-and-development centers in the world.

Powered along by dozens of Forbes 100 companies, like Apple, Alphabet (Google), Hewlett Packard and Oracle, Silicon Valley accounts for one-third of all venture capital investment in the US.

And although it may be slightly unsettling considering California’s well-known liberal tendencies, tech stocks continue to smash records ever since the Republican Donald Trump entered the White House.

So, how to explain the disturbing phenomenon of retail workers, teachers, maintenance workers, plumbers and many other assorted service-sector workers, who are living out of cars and RVs in parking lots because their salary is not enough to afford the cost of rent? Especially in a region of the country that is practically swimming in cash.

“The median rent in the San Jose metro area is $3,500 a month, yet the median wage is $12 an hour in food service and $19 an hour in health care support, an amount that won’t even cover housing costs,” AP reported in a recent exposé devoted to the issue.

The report detailed the heart-wrenching story of Ellen Tara James-Penney, 54, who teaches at San Jose State University, who is paid “$28,000 a year to teach four English classes and is carrying $143,000 in student debt after earning two degrees.”

“She grades papers and prepares lessons in the Volvo. At night, she leans back the driver’s seat and prepares for sleep [with] one of two dogs, Hank, by her side. Her husband, Jim, who is too tall for the car, sleeps outside in a tent cot with their other dog, Buddy.”

In Mountain View, a city of 80,000, over 300 vehicles are scattered throughout the city, serving as cramped living quarters for individuals and entire families. But, as officials come under increasing pressure to deal with the growing influx of homeless, resources are being stretched to breaking point.

According to the city’s official website, “Mountain View homelessness nearly doubled from 139 in 2013, to 276 in 2015. These numbers have risen further countywide in 2017. For Mountain View, there are 416 homeless, up by 51 percent from 2015.”

Meanwhile, in nearby Palo Alto, officials were forced to imposea 72-hour limit on RVs parked along streets in the city, following a raft of complaints by residents.

Blame the poor?

There is the temptation to blame these struggling individuals for their present plight. After all, why not just load up the vehicle and move to a place where the spending habits of the ultra-wealthy have not triggered steep inflation? Although there seems to be some truth to that statement, the problem is not so simple, as it goes beyond the borders of Silicon Valley.

Homelessness is now conspicuous throughout the country, but especially so in California. In a just-released study put out by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, four of the top 10 cities for homelessness rates were in California (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose). New York City took the top spot.

Buried beneath the upbeat news of a surging stock market and breathless executive salaries, the uptick in homelessness that has prompted many local governments along the West Coast to declare states of emergency, the likes of which are usually reserved for natural disasters.

“A homeless crisis of unprecedented proportions is rocking the West Coast, and its victims are being left behind by the very things that mark the region’s success: soaring housing costs, rock-bottom vacancy rates and a roaring economy that waits for no one,” the Washington Post reported.

Up and down the coast, officials are scrambling for solutions.

“I’ve got economically zero unemployment in my city, and I’ve got thousands of homeless people that actually are working and just can’t afford housing,” Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien told the Post. “There’s nowhere for these folks to move to. Every time we open up a new place, it fills up.”

What makes the story all the more tragic is that many of the very same people who perform the backbreaking chores that the wealthy could not live without –  plumbing, teaching, serving food, cleaning – are the ones getting left behind in the rush to riches.

“This is not a crisis of unemployment that’s leading to poverty around here,” Tom Myers, executive director of Community Services Agency, a non-profit based in Mountain View, told AP. “People are working.”

Via RT.

  • Jolly Roger

    Screw ’em. The little brats never shed a tear for the millions of people living on the street, so why should anyone care that they’re living in their cars?
    There are tent cities filled with formerly hard-working Americans outside of every major city in this country. so I have no sympathy for these wannabe yuppies who look down their noises at everyone else.
    Hard working Americans have been forced in to the streets since the eighties. Let the spoiled brats get a taste of it.

    • Zaphod Braden

      Better idea …… TAKE the Tech Billionaires’money and pay off the National Debt…..
      Many Americans have Given ALL defending the T.B.’s money and they have given NOTHING in return

  • Flem
    • Zaphod Braden

      If some merchant has so much money he can brag about all the charities he is supporting …. he is charging you too much.
      Ever notice “capitalism” is NEVER mentioned in the Constitution. You have a RIGHT to your property, but so-called “capitalism” is never mentioned.
      Thank “capitalism”…. Instead of having babies/families White Christians were “diverted” into working their lives away to PRODUCE in the name of Capitalism ……. People worked to serve the “machine” instead of the Machine serving Christ.
      Talk about BAD STEWARDS ….. the 1% has utterly failed Christ and HIS People. Their businesses should have been the basis for providing life’s necessities for the Community of Christ. Instead they are providing a petrie dish for growing the disease of barbarism from paganism at home to invading ISLAM. Without a Christian base and Western philosophy the laws that allow these corporations would never have been written.
      Yes, communism/socialism are worse, but not by much. Christians should have been raising Children, not the bank accounts of the 1%.
      Instead of working to create a strong, healthy, growing, society, the Rich “Harvested the corners of the fields” and gathered every grain into THEIR castles and cared not for the Culture and Religion that made their very existence possible.

      Time for the 1% and Corporations to contribute PROPORTIONATELY to the National Defense.
      Those who have massive material goods must contribute proportionately to protecting them.
      If the 1% were paying proportionately they would become concerned about waste, fraud & THEFT in the Pentagon.
      The Workers give their LIVES maimed and killed.
      The Workers Pay high taxes for ONE house with a MORTGAGE.
      The !% and Corporations have multiple houses, pay ever decreasing taxes and enjoy the FAT of the land.
      And no more TAX DODGING “trusts”, “endowments” and “foundations” where they still CONTROL their money, they just don’t PAY TAXES. Spend the money in 5 years or it goes to the National Debt.

      “Merchants have no country,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1814. “The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.” The former president was ruing the way New England traders and shipowners, fearing the loss of lucrative transatlantic commerce, failed to rally to their country in the War of 1812.

      Since pseudo-conservatives/neocons , are so enamored of the words of our forefathers would someone please dig out the old Sermons preached in American churches about the FOUL MERCANTILISTS whose ONLY loyalty is to money. Neither Nation nor Church holds the devotion of these squalid creatures, but only the source of their next dollar.

    • Joseph Conrad



  • Zaphod Braden

    Time for the 1% to contribute PROPORTIONALLY to the War Efforts. Much is expected from those to whom much is given.
    Some of our Troops give ALL, or are maimed for life,and the 1% balks at giving MONEY when they have so much?!
    Cut taxes for the “Rich” so they will invest their money in creating more jobs? By that logic giving ALL your money to the Rich would make Everyone rich. Humanity already tried that. It was called FEUDALISM, a primitive form of COMMUNISM.
    LISTEN to what these neocon PSEUDO-capitalists are saying:
    “TAKE from the POOR and GIVE to the RICH”
    “FROM each according to their ABILITY, TO each according to their NEED. The POOR have the ABILITY to be squeezed for more taxes …….. and the Rich NEED more money …… to create jobs”???????.
    This is INSANITY, this is C-O-M-M-U-N-I-S-M by a different name.
    MAKE ZUCKerberg and these other Billionaires that want to flood the labor pool and drive downYOUR wages with cheap illegals & invaders ….. PAY FOR THEM. As it is, YOU pay to bring in and train YOUR replacements.
    The rich “Nobles” paid NO taxes and they created LOTS of jobs for the SERFS and PEASANTS………building CASTLES and making life better for the RICH-NOBILITY. Work and Taxes was all the Serfs knew. Where do the heroic figures of Robin Hood and William Tell spring from if not resistance to this inane idea? Seing this extremist idea dragged out of the muck of history proves to me that our Nation has truly been DUMBED DOWN and Public Schools need to be upgraded and intensified.
    Quit living in Never-Never Land where Wars are not paid for. The Founding Fathers of America didn’t. The Founding Fathers were rich, but they knew it was their CIVIC DUTY to contribute. It was called LEADERSHIP. They personally “raised” entire companies of men for the war. That means THEY PAID FOR THEM. Not like today when the YELLOW-BELLIED-DRAFT-DODGING Neocan WAR PROFITEERS beat the drums for endless war, and insist that YOU pay for it, while they reap profit off Defense Stocks. It is REALITY CHECK time America. Make those who pound the War Drums, GO TO THE WAR.

  • HWR
  • Pointing&Laughing

    Maybe they need more Mexicans.