Crisanto Street: RV's & Day Worker Center By Ernest Leong

This photo essay showcases the daily lives of people living in rental vehicles, trailers, and vans of Crisanto Street, as well as the nearby Day Worker Center that offers them work opportunities and living assistance. This comes in light of Mountain View City Council's approval of an RV Ban passed in December 2020 that would displace everyone along the street.

Disclaimer: Under conditions of anonymity and concerns over displacement, all residents of the RV's chose to remain unnamed. They were, however, willing to share their stories.

Crisanto Street on March 29, 2021, where around two dozen RV's are parked on both sides of the road. Some RV's have a multigenerational household, while others are just enough for two.

María Marroquín, the Executive Director of the Day Worker Center in Mountain View, is double checking orders and food donations in preparation for the free lunch service they are providing on March 31, 2021.

(L-R) Carla Dardon and Carlos Arreola Jr. on March 31, 2021, are the programs manager and outreach & education coordinators respectively. Both before and during the pandemic, the two have been working to find residents temporary job occupations, low-income apartments, and training courses, including technology and English literacy.

At 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 31st, two staff workers are working quickly to make lunch for the workers coming into the center as well as RV residents. By 11:30, a small crowd of workers stand outside the food window, waiting for freshly made pupusas.

The eyes of this particular food cart worker on March 24, 2021. He has been walking this car and living on Cisantro Street for the past 25 years. Selling drinks and snacks, he still plans to walk another two rounds around the park and block before going home.

This group of friends just came off work at 5:28 pm on Monday, March 22nd, hoping to catch up with each other and wait for the food cart, shown prior.

Mar. 29, 2021 - Two men, both unemployed, are working to mow the sidewalk 'lawn' next to their RV's. They say that if they keep their surroundings clean and neat, the city lets them be. Nevertheless, Mountain View City Council passed an RV ban that will displace them in a couple of months.

Grass Clippings
Behind the Scenes of RV Life

One resident on March 22, 2021, is flattening and collecting soda cans in order to drop them off at a nearby Recycling & Buy Back Center, in order to generate a bit of income.

Behind the Scenes at the Day Worker Center

The main space of the Day Worker Center on March 31, 2021, is now filled with side projects by Ms. Marroquín. She has stocked up on hundreds of cloth masks that get distributed weekly, and is also growing alfalfa sprouts and other plants to feed the community.

On the left, the singular Asian-American resident on Crisanto Street on March 22, 2021, lounges in the passenger seat after a bike ride, a popular past time for many residents. Due to his ethnicity and unconventional white van, he has been mistaken as an undercover copper by other Hispanic residents.

On the right, one man on March 29, 2021, waits in the shade for his friends to come by.

Looking through the window sill of the Day Worker Center on March 31, 2021, staff can start to see some of the trailers and vehicles parked along the road.

Mar. 22, 2021 - This particular resident will have to take down the Marvel SunShade in a couple months in order to relocate in accordance with the RV Ban. The SunShade has never been removed the entire time he's been on Crisanto Street, about 2-3 years.

Mar. 29, 2021 - The woman living in this van has been living a minimal lifestyle for the past year, with pots and pans decorating the van's roof. She hopes to get an apartment as soon as she can, unlike some other residents.

Mar. 28, 2021 - One resident's attempt to transform the overgrown sidewalk to backyard garden.

Mar. 30, 2021 - The two bikes of a couple living in an RV since the start of the pandemic. Ever since the Great Recession, living in a studio apartment became unreasonable, and thus they transitioned to living in an RV once Covid-19 hit.

"When you're face-planted into the ground, there's no where else to go [but an RV]." - Resident
"Living in an RV is ok, especially with Day Worker Center assistance." - Resident, Mar. 30, 2021

Mar. 29, 2021 - One of two dogs hanging about in the clearing, where a family with 7 children hang out in the afternoons. They occupy two trailers to accommodate them all.

An old Mickey Mouse doll hangs on the fence by the train tracks, right next to the RV's.

Created By
Ernest Leong