The homeless are everywhere, even in affluent Silicon Valley, and they don’t fit the stereotype of the dirty panhandler on the street corner.
Tom Myers, executive director of the Community Services Agency of Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, made that point during CSA’s annual “Hometown Heroes” breakfast, held Friday at the Microsoft Corp. headquarters in Mountain View.
Myers showed the audience a portion of Bill Moyers’ recent documentary, “Homeless in High Tech’s Shadow,” which featured some local homeless people who could be mistaken for young engineers and others who had jobs but could not afford a place to live.
CSA, which provides a safety net of support for the struggling, assists a wide range of people through its food and nutrition center, homeless services and help for seniors, including a lunch and nutrition program.
Myers said that of the 110,000 estimated residents in Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, 1 in 17 is a CSA client. That number increased nearly 300 over the previous fiscal year, from 6,279 in 2011-2012 to 6,558 in 2012-2013.
Acknowledging the innovations of Silicon Valley, Myers wondered whether “we can harness that brain power” to fix the homeless problem.
Los Altos City Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, a CSA board member, noted that the nonprofit’s goal is not offering a handout, but “a hand up.” Myers pointed to CSA’s mission statement and the agency’s desire to promote “stability, self-reliance and dignity.”
Honorees at this year’s event included CSA volunteers Jean and Barbara Mordo of Los Altos and past and present Mountain View City Councils for their ongoing support.
“At CSA, all things done here are outstanding and very worthy of your time and effort,” Barbara Mordo said.
Oscar Garcia, president and CEO of the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, said he and his family have used CSA in times of need.
As he reminded the large gathering at the “Hometown Heroes” event: “You’re just one tragedy, one life circumstance away from needing services from CSA.”
For more information, visit csacares.org.