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Infrastructure, Housing and Development

Palm Street Studios, Anderson Hotel affordable housing projects in SLO will continue through city support

anderson hotel.jpg
Rachel Showalter
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The Anderson Hotel apartments has 68 units for low-income people with special needs.

San Luis Obispo County is in the middle of a housing crisis made worse by the ongoing pandemic. With many low-income people struggling to pay rent and utilities, nonprofits and local governments across the state are working to secure funding for affordable housing projects.

The San Luis Obispo City Council allocated $2 million last week to support affordable housing projects in the city.

$1.7 million of the total funding will help preserve the downtown Anderson Hotel, a 68-unit converted property currently housing extremely low-income individuals and people with special needs.

A large portion of that money will subsidize rent for the residents to ensure they don’t pay more than 30 percent of their income to rent and utilities.

The city council earmarked the other $300,000 to Transitions Mental Health Association (TMHA) for its Palm Street Studios housing project. It will have eight single units for chronically unhoused people living with a mental illness.

“They are some of the most vulnerable people in our community, some of the most vulnerable houseless people in our community," said TMHA Community Engagement Director Michael Kaplan.

He said the Palm Street property will need a fair amount of work before it can start housing people about a year from now.

Mark Lamore is the director of homeless services for Transitions. He said he’s happy to see attention paid to these kinds of projects that actively reduce the number of people on the street.

“The problem is just not going away. So, by stepping up and proactively developing projects like this and the funding and the support services, it’s just instrumental in trying to reduce the number of homeless individuals we have in the city and county,” Lamore said.

The Palm Street Studios project is part of a larger program called Housing Now that works to get vulnerable adults into housing. Kaplan said the city’s support of that program is key.

“Not only did we need the money as part of the overall program but, we want the buy-in of the city. We want their support and their belief in the program,” Kaplan said.

The 2019 Point-In-Time Count found about 1,500 unhoused individuals in San Luis Obispo County.

Approval of this funding is in-line with a San Luis Obispo City goal of supporting local and regional solutions to homelessness.

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