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housing

From: Doug & Nancy Alsop <"Doug>
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2016 11:44:03 -0700

Dear Menlo Park City Council,

My name is Nancy Alsop and I am a resident of Redwood City. I am writing
to you about a concern my husband and I have regarding an event that
happened to a young man, who is a friend of ours. Jon is a 27 year old
living here legally (has a green card) from Guatemala. He is ambitious,
doing his best, working 2 part-time jobs and is about to begin studying to
become a citizen so that he can get a better job with Delta Airlines. He
is not involved in drugs and doesn't drink alcohol. We have known him
since he was 17 years old. He was sent here to stay with a relative as his
grandmother in Guatemala could no longer afford to keep him. The relative
abandoned him and he has been left on his own. We have helped him out over
the past 10 years.

The only housing Jon could afford was a tiny converted garage in East Menlo
Park. It appeared that this garage had been used for housing for some
time. As he was preparing for work one day, an official from the city of
Menlo Park knocked on the door and told him he had to get out right away
and could not live there anymore. He was upset and called us for help. We
helped him move his things to our house as an emergency plan. He had to
miss work that day, which he could ill-afford to do. The official handed
him a list of homeless shelters which would have been totally inappropriate
places for him to go.

It has taken at least 2 months to try to find cheap enough housing, and
finally he has found something in So. San Jose. It is only a matter of
time before he realizes that he can't afford the gas and the time it will
take him to drive daily to one of his part-time jobs at SFO. He will again
begin the struggle to find something affordable that will get him closer to
work.

We are completely aware of zoning rules, building codes etc., however, in
this ridiculous rental housing market here on the Peninsula, it is
literally impossible for low wage earners to find decent housing, or even
indecent housing. Maybe someday we will be putting our bags on the
airplane ourselves. Can we consider loosening up the housing rules, even
just temporarily, to help these people? If the dwelling is not in
immediate danger of catching fire or falling down, can we possibly ease up
a bit? I don't think erring on the side of compassion is a bad thing.

Thank you for your consideration.

Nancy Alsop
Received on Thu Sep 22 2016 - 11:49:46 PDT

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