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Temporary, transitional housing project opening soon in Grover Beach

grover housing project.jpg
Rachel Showalter
The Cabins for Change project is currently under construction and expected to open in August of 2022.

Unsheltered homelessness in San Luis Obispo County has grown by about 22 percent over the last five years, according to an estimate by 5Cities Homeless Coalition.

The organization is working to mitigate the issue by building a new temporary emergency shelter in South County.

The Cabins for Change Project will be in Grover Beach on Longbranch and 16th Streets, just south of Grand Avenue.

It’s nearing the end of construction now and, when it’s done, will have 20 individual living cabins, a community dining area and shared bathrooms.

Janna Nichols with 5Cities said this will serve a critical need for members of the unhoused community.

“I mean it’s not hard to understand that if you’ve had rent go up 50 percent in five years that you’re going to have a challenge,” Nichols said.

grover housing map.jpg
Courtesy: 5Cities Homeless Coalition
The emergency shelter cabins will be built on a lot that already has other public services in Grover Beach.

People will be able to live on-site for up to six months and participate in an intensive case management program with the goal of eventually landing them in permanent housing.

“Whether we’re helping them get back into the job market, whether we’re helping them qualify for public benefits that they might be entitled to due to disability for example,” Nichols said.

She said, although this is just interim housing, the hope is that it will provide some temporary stabilization for people to get back on their feet.

Nichols said 20 cabins won’t be enough to entirely solve the problem, but it’s a start.

“Some would say, 'You know what you’re doing isn’t working,' and I would argue quite the opposite," Nichols said. "Our success rates are quite high. It’s not sufficient.”

Nichols said funding and location concerns were a challenge while getting this project off the ground. She said there have been concerns from the community over the years about the impacts of these kinds of projects on surrounding neighborhoods.

“Everyone recognizes that we need to do something and yet where that service is offered is always very problematic,” Nichols said.

She said, in partnership with county and city leaders, this location was chosen based on its proximity to other public services. The property is already the site of an addiction treatment center and a county public health office.

Cabins for Change is expected to open up for temporary residents some time in August.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.