I met Robert Mullins by chance at a bus stop in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, California. It was hot, and we had both crowded in the only slice of afternoon shade the tired blue bus stop had to offer. He introduced himself to me, and because we seemed relatively close in age, I asked him if he went to school in the area. He didn’t – not at the moment at least – because he was homeless after being forced out by his parents shortly after his sixteenth birthday.
I miss meeting people from all walks of life. Although Stanford’s student body is composed of people from all across the country and around the world with unique backgrounds, passions and dreams, in certain ways everyone is very similar. We’re all on a path directed by higher education. The different worlds we come from all…
One RV resident, a government supervisor who works in Palo Alto, said he moved into the RV from an apartment in Stockton after his five hour daily commute became unbearable.
In viewing the entirety of the homeless as being beyond a minimum threshold of society, we place them below “us” and they are thus easy to help. But make no mistake, helping has the same result as blaming the individual: They are silent, and we are content.
Palo Alto city officials have voted to spend $250,000 on improving living conditions for the homeless population of the city.
Night Outreach, a Stanford student group dedicated to serving and establishing a relationship with the local homeless community, has partnered with InnVision, the largest provider of housing in Santa Clara County, in an effort to establish an area, women-only shelter.
“Homeless and hungry, please spare change. Every little bit helps,” reads one woman’s sign. A blue-eyed, 20-something brunette sits quietly outside of Starbucks in downtown Palo Alto, watching as countless people mill by without so much as a downward glance.