Public addresses San Luis Obispo’s homelessness response development plan
The City of San Luis Obispo presented a proposal for developing a future strategic plan for preventing and addressing homelessness at a city council meeting on November 16.
The city said the planning process will focus on gathering data and facilitating communications, pilot programs, regional collaboration and funding.
The city asked for $35,000 to be allocated for facilitating public meetings and funding communication materials, resources and strategy implementation costs.
The city said, in the coming months, staff will focus on community, stakeholder and unhoused resident engagement to look deeper into components for the strategic plan.
A number of residents called into the meeting to address the issue of homelessness in San Luis Obispo.
A caller who identified himself as Alejandro said one of the top priorities in the plan should be affordable housing.
“We need the plan to include specifically making sure that there is no income and very low income housing available," Alejandro said. "This should guide what data staff gathers and should also inform possible pilot programs."
Jack Lahey of CAPSLO called in to the meeting. He said, by ratio, San Luis Obispo has one of the highest unsheltered populations in the state and housing is certainly key.
“I really want to make sure that we are all aware of the already existing structures that we have in place that serve to move people who are unhoused into housing,” Lahey said.
He said the city’s development plan is robust, He said in his experience working on the issue of homelessness in Los Angeles, strategic plans that worked well were tied into existing programming and structures.
He said missteps could be made if the resources that already exist are ignored in the development plan.
Some pilot programs that exist in addition to temporary shelters include the city’s Community Action Team, or CAT, the mobile crisis unit and the city’s Safe Parking Program.
Janna Nichols of the 5Cities Homeless Coalition helps people move into housing and retain it. She said there is a data problem that needs to be addressed as part of the development plan.
A Point-in-Time count of the unhoused community has not been conducted in San Luis Obispo since 2019, due to the pandemic.
“I believe data will drive collaboration and it will drive funding," Nichols said. "I look forward to an integrated process and we stand ready to assist our city and all of our county partners in making that happen.”
A tentative Point-in-Time count is scheduled for January.
For more information about homelessness in San Luis Obispo and to access local resources, click here.