San Luis Obispo distributes funding toward homelessness prevention
The city of SLO is distributing new funding to homeless services organizations. The city said it's part of their long-term plan to address and prevent homelessness.
They are giving $150,000 in grant money to local nonprofits like 5-Cities Homeless Coalition and Community Action Partnership of SLO County. It will also help fund youth and senior programs, as well as a 20-unit affordable housing project in the city.
Nestor Veloz-Passalacqua is the city’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager.
“The main funding priority is to address homelessness prevention including, affordable housing, alternative housing, supportive services and transitional housing,” Veloz-Passalacqua said.
SLO’s City Council passed their first Strategic Plan for Homelessness Response earlier this year. It includes affordable housing goals, street outreach and cleanup efforts.
The city also plans to develop a digital management tool to coordinate response efforts and outreach between homeless encampments and city officials.
The city has faced criticism for its handling of homelessness in the past. In 2021 a nonprofit law firm called the California Rural Legal Assistance filed a lawsuit against the city with five unhoused, low-income plaintiffs.
They alleged the city took and destroyed the personal belongings of unhoused community members, including tents, tarps, blankets, and medication. Last year, the city filed a motion to dismiss the allegations, but a federal judge rejected it.
In 2021, city officials told KCBX they were discouraged by the lawsuit because they were doing more than ever to address homelessness. They said, “We ask the community to refrain from judgment until all facts are fully vetted through the legal process.” The litigation is ongoing.
Veloz-Passalacqua said the city’s new homelessness plan will help unhoused people transition into long-term housing.
“When it comes to addressing those elements, I can tell you that the homelessness response strategic plan, I think truly it's working addressing the larger needs in collaboration with our partners in the community,” Veloz-Passalacqua said.
More information on the new grant funding is at slocity.org/grants.