NBC Bay Area
A VTA bus serves as a de-facto homeless shelter for Silicon Valley's needy who have nowhere else to go.
A young girl in the fourth grade in Silicon Valley is having her best year in school -- this, despite living on the same bus she rides to class.
The bus is the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Route 22, the VTA's only 24-hour bus line -- and it's been used as a homeless shelter by Silicon Valley's unfortunate who have been unable to secure a spot in shelters, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
The South Bay has the highest rate of "unsheltered homeless" of any locale in the country, the newspaper reported, with nearly 20,000 people expected to experience homelessness over the next year.
In San Jose, up to 5,000 people a night are on the streets -- and with no room for them in shelters, they go to the bus, which runs from East San Jose to Palo Alto and back again.
"Think about it," Jenny Niklaus, CEO of a local nonprofit, told the newspaper. "We are in such a state of crisis that people are eager to ride a bus, and it's been that way for years."
Riders on the bus are used to the sights of people with carts of belongings -- and the 10-year old girl, who sleeps on her backpack as her father, who lost his job recently, watches.
As he wakes her at 1:45 a.m. for a transfer, he says she's managing better than he expected.