I am not a resident of Mountain View, California but I have family and friends who live there. When I was visiting my brother in Mountain View, I drove through some streets near his home and I was very surprised to see a line of RVs on the street. Coming from the Midwest, this was a surprising sight because I had never seen so many RVs camped out on city streets and near people’s homes.
It wasn’t until later that I realized that these RVs belonged to residents of Mountain View and in some cases served as their permanent homes.
RV residents in Mountain View have been given a bad rap by the city and the public. Some consider them to be only slightly better than the homeless. They are considered to be a threat to public safety and they are often associated with leaving behind sewage spills, and trash as well as being caught up with drug and alcohol abuse and crime.
In 2020, the city estimated that at least 300 RV dwellers were camped out on the streets of Mountain View. With rents and mortgages being exorbitantly high in the Mountain View region, it would not be surprising if the number of RV dwellers increases in 2021.
Who Are the RV Dwellers?
Towards the end of 2020, Measure C was passed by the Mountain View City Council. The measure bans RVs and any oversized vehicles from parking on narrow city streets. Streets are defined as narrow if they are 40 feet or less.
This measure has greatly impacted the lives of most RV residents in Mountain View. Their biggest gripe is that the city does not have any empathy for them and has chosen to discard them. Where will the RV dwellers go if they are banned from parking on the streets?
The truth is that it is not so easy to move around in an RV to find the next safe parking space. There are not enough safe parking spaces in the city. Moreover, there are different sets of logistics that one has to deal with when living in an RV. For example, to have power in an RV for heating and electricity, you need a generator. In addition, water usage in an RV is limited because the vehicles can only store a certain amount of water before it needs to be emptied out.
Even getting gas for the RV is difficult because gas isn’t cheap and it remains unaffordable for most RV residents. Also, once you move, you give up your parking space and it can be difficult to find a similar space.
Most RV dwellers insist that the city doesn’t have empathy and doesn’t pay enough attention to them. They state that they are just normal people who are down on their luck.
Some have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Some people simply work in low-paying jobs and are unable to pay the high rents in Mountain View. Others are older and have medical issues.
Then there could be some unconventional RV dwellers who are well-paid techies but choose to live in an RV to avoid the sky-high rents and property taxes. These people choose to save up their money so that they can buy a home or retire early.
A Mountain View RV resident sums it up,
They’re not crooks, they’re not bad people; they’re people who’ve worked hard all their lives but for one reason or another had to move out of their home.
The idea that we are a lesser group than the rest of the community is absolutely not true.