By John Ramos

PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — The City of Palo Alto just made life a little easier for one young college student, who is working to turn his life around. He lives in a minivan with his mother and told KPIX 5 things can only get better from here.

Wherever Diane Jones and her son Oliver Terry go they’re never far from home, all they have to do is walk out to the parking lot.

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“Oliver’s on the right, sleeps on the right and I sleep on the left,” Jones said.

The two have been living in the minivan since 2008. Jones is permanently disabled and can’t work. At age 24, Terry has decided to do something about all this, by enrolling in the dental hygienist program at Foothill College above Palo Alto.

He knows it won’t be easy. “It’s gonna be like walk through, say, the marshlands in a pair of flip flops, and trying to keep the flip flops on your feet,” Terry said.

Terry said he showers every day at a health club and they move between parking lots in the city, trying not to wear out their welcome. It is people like this who convinced Palo Alto to rescind its ban on overnight sleeping in vehicles earlier this week.

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“Nobody says I’m gonna grow up and be homeless, nobody,” Jones said.

Jones said she is relieved that she and her son won’t have to fear that knock on the window late at night. But she’s happy her son is fighting for a better life.

“He’s going to college. And regardless of our circumstance, he’s doing it, which is so amazing,” Jones said.

As for Terry, the optimism he feels for his future is tempered with a bit of street pragmatism. “It can only get better. It’s not like it’s gonna get any worse than it already has gotten,” he said.

Bans on car camping are still in place in the nearby communities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale.

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