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Local housing coalition building temporary shelter for unhoused residents in South SLO County

Construction workers assembling a dining hall for the Grover Beach temporary housing.
5Cities Homeless Coalition
Construction workers assembling a dining hall for the Grover Beach temporary housing.

The 5Cities Homeless Coalition (5CHC) is building a temporary emergency shelter for unhoused people in SLO County. It will have 22 cabins and is expected to open at the end of the month in Grover Beach.

5CHC partnered with SLO County and Grover Beach to build temporary housing for the unhoused residents of South County. They’re pellet cabins, enough to fit two people or 1 person and an animal.

Janna Nichols is the Executive Director of 5CHC. She said the temporary housing they are building is meant to help unhoused residents while they transition to a permanent home.

“Our entire purpose of this is to bring folks in and then provide them with some intensive case management services and other supportive services to try to get them into permanent housing,” Nichols said.

The funding for this project came from the federal CARES Act, and was then distributed by the county.

Nichols said the money allowed them to hire case managers to work on the site to help residents case by case. She said their goal is to help identify what their challenges are, whether it's income or health, to help develop a case plan with each person.

“Then we have case managers on our staff who will be working specifically with them to work through whatever those challenges are,” Nichols said.

The construction site for the temporary housing development
5Cities Homeless Coalition
The construction site for the temporary housing development

The campus is being built on an unused lot, which Nichols referred to as a sandpit.

“This was an unused piece of property. Literally, it was a sandpit in the back of the parking lot here on the county campus in Grover. We looked at both accessibility [and] its proximity to services,” Nichols said.

Matthew Bronson, the City Manager of Grover Beach, said developing this project helps accomplish the city’s goal of addressing homelessness. He said there have been safety concerns from nearby residents, but the city is taking steps to address that.

“There will be cameras. There will be security measures taken. There will be active personnel on site, and we have every expectation that this will be a safe and secure facility for those living there — and for those who are nearby,” Bronson said.

Bronson said the 5Cities Homeless Coalition will be working closely with the local police department on safety issues.

This housing model has proven successful in other areas in California, like Riverside County’s 30-unit shelter that serves about 150 unhoused residents.

Bronson said is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Gabriela Fernandez is a general assignment reporter at KCBX News. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an Associate Producer on the TahoeLand podcast.
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