Number of Homeless Camping Outside Fremont Tesla Plant on the Rise

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In the shadow of Tesla's assembly plant off Interstate 880 in Fremont, a growing number of homeless people are camping in RVs and other vehicles.

For months, trucks have been parked outside the automaker's facility. Now, there are more than a dozen RVs and vans stationed near the plant. Many of the people choosing to camp outside Tesla can't afford costly Bay Area rents, but they want to be close to jobs.

Tom Huong is an independent contractor who currently spends some of his time sleeping in a van outside the facility, waiting to take a job driving parts or packages for Tesla and other nearby businesses.

Huong, who has a wife and two young children, said he gave up his apartment and now leases a small room in a house in San Jose for $1,200 a month. He said he sleeps in a van in an industrial area outside the Tesla facility to take overnight jobs.

"So I gotta stay here because it's constant job," he said. "It's very competitive. It's very quick."

Homeless advocates said one reason more people may now be camping along Kato Road outside the plant is because it's an industrial area.

"The enforcement usually comes from a complaint, and businesses are less likely to complain about the cars and campers," Louis Chicoine with Adobe Services said. "I also think it could be possibly related to the fact that's where jobs are."

Fremont is looking into a safe parking program and hopes to open a navigation center later this year, but the number of homeless people is growing too fast to house them. Last year, when 53 affordable apartments opened in the city, more than 5,000 people applied for housing.

NBC Bay Area reached out to Tesla, the mayor's office and city council members about the homeless situation but did not immediately receive a response.

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