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SLO County's 5-year homelessness plan now has an accountability commission

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Paso Robles Police Department
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An encampment in Paso Robles.

The SLO County Board of Supervisors has created a new plan to cut homelessness by 50% in SLO County. This week the board assembled a volunteer committee called the Citizens Homelessness Accountability Commission to carry it out.

The board’s plan assembles a team of 11 volunteer citizens. The commission is called the Citizens Homelessness Accountability Commission, also known as CHAC, and they will be helping the county work towards their new goal of cutting homelessness by 50% in five years.

CHAC will be tracking the county’s progress towards reducing homelessness to make sure they stay on course with each goal.

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Habitat for Humanity for San Luis Obispo County, Facebook
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Habitat for Humanity is one of the nonprofits addressing homelessness in SLO County.

During a presentation to the Board on August 9, Atascadero City Councilmember Susan Funk said she’s optimistic the new plan will work by creating more housing, expanding mental health services and more.

“Its a real change, it feels very different for folks, involved but it is a pathway to doing something that is scaled to the scope of the problem and we can make this work,” Funk said.

Others are more skeptical. During public comment at this week’s meeting, Linde Owen from Los Osos voiced her concerns with the county’s new plan. She said she hopes the new 11-member commission makes real progress, and isn’t just a way for the county to say they’re addressing homelessness without making substantial progress.

“It feels like another flop in the bureaucratic process that slowly inches forward with no project in particular that will or can reduce homelessness in our county. I feel like this direction that the county continues to go in a feels like just a way of trying to put treatment plans out,” Owens said.

This new goal of reducing homelessness by 50% comes after the county’s failed attempt to eliminate homelessness completely in a previous ten-year plan.

The new commission will meet at least three times a year and report annually to the Board on the 5-year plan’s progress.

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.