Homeless

Angel Russell

Responding to an increase of residents living in their vehicles in Los Osos, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors opened its first “safe parking” site on county-owned land — but the pilot program is drawing backlash.

At the corner of Kansas and Oklahoma avenues off Highway 1, cars are pulling up to a gated dirt parking lot, checking in with a security guard to let them in so they can sleep in their cars for the night. Cole Parker is one of the first to arrive Monday evening.

“I didn’t know what to expect," Parker said. "I figured I’d try it out.”

Angel Russell

A new housing program in SLO County aims to take more than 150 people off the streets. The Housing Authority of SLO (HaSLO) is calling the program “Welcome Home." The organization said finding homeless people needing housing is the easy part, but finding landlords willing to take these people in is proving challenging. 

 In 2020 while navigating the COVID pandemic, El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) successfully expanded homeless services in Northern San Luis Obispo County where they had been much needed for years. In one year, the organization grew from 50 beds and a small handful of staff to more than 100 beds and three shelters, and almost two dozen staff members.  How did this expansion come about? And how is it being managed? What other plans does the non-profit have to tackle the communities’ homeless issues?

Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with guests with El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO), Wendy Lewis, President & CEO, and Jeff Al-mashat, Director of Homeless Services in Paso Robles as they discuss their expansion and how the program, in addition to providing shelter, offers services for these individuals to secure a job and find permanent and sustainable housing and how the community can help in these efforts. 

The COVID-19 crisis has led to widespread economic impacts. Rising unemployment has left a record number of individuals in possible housing insecurity due to loss of income as a result of shelter-at-home orders, quarantines, illness, school closures, and other COVID-related factors. In August, nine prominent institutes and organizations released new research that concluded that 30-40 million people in America are at risk of losing their homes by the end of 2020. What type of housing assistance is available during these difficult times? Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with Central Coast legal experts—Kate Lee, attorney with Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County, and Sadie Weller, attorney with San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation—as they discuss avenues available for rent and mortgage relief as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

MARELBU/wikimedia commons

With tens of thousands of people living on the streets of California, the homelessness crisis is not slowing down, but a San Luis Obispo city grant aims to help alleviate the problem in the downtown area.

KCBX

San Luis Obispo County this week renewed participation in the Stepping Up Initiative, a nationwide initiative aimed at reducing the prevalence of inmates who suffer from mental illness from cycling through the criminal justice system. 

Courtesy of motel6.com

A Motel 6 in Paso Robles will be converted to provide over a hundred rooms for emergency and permanent housing for homeless individuals,  a project expected to be complete by the end of this year.

Angel Russell

The city of San Luis Obispo is clearing a homeless encampment along the Bob Jones Trail. This comes a week after SLOPD found the body of a man inside one of the tents, who they say died from unknown causes weeks earlier.

A camping site in Paso Robles that supplied tents, food and security for homeless individuals will be shutting down November 1, and city officials are working on finding a solution to house individuals ahead of the winter season.

photo by Angel Russell

As food banks across the nation are overwhelmed due to the coronavirus pandemic, neighbors are helping neighbors with the use of Little Free Pantries. There are hundreds of these pantries around the nation in a growing movement, and some are popping up throughout the Central Coast.

Angel Russell/KCBX

A new campground of sorts is now set up for homeless individuals living in Paso Robles. City officials say the main goal is to relocate people living in the Salinas riverbed, where several fires have ignited.

Despite the raging COVID-19 pandemic, this is not just an election year, but also a very important year for everyone to participate and be counted as part of the 2020 U.S. Census. Due to the pandemic, both of these civic duties have become more complicated. Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks in the first half hour with Tommy Gong, San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder, and Michael Latner, Ph.D., Cal Poly political science professor and Kendall Voting Rights Fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists, as they discuss the integrity of the 2020 election and plans to make voting safe and accessible to everyone. In the second half hour, Kris speaks with representatives from local organizations, who amid COVID-19, are working to prevent an undercount in the 2020 Census within 'hard-to-reach' communities. Guests include Devon McQuade, development and communications coordinator with the 5Cities Homeless Coalition; Brandy Graham, veteran support programs manager with CAPSLO; and Micki Wright, a senior volunteer services representative.

California faced a crisis in affordable housing even before COVID-19, so how has the pandemic affected the situation? During shelter at home orders, and the continued restrictions, many low-income tenants have faced job and income loss that have prevented them from paying rent, buying food and accessing health care.  Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with John Fowler, president and CEO with Peoples’ Self-Help Housing (PSHH) and Morgen Benevedo, PSHH's director of multifamily housing, as they discuss how COVID-19 is affecting affordable housing, including issues such as increase in need, resident safety, a decrease in production and capitalization problems for the future. Plus, what role the government has, and strategies for increasing affordable housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

San Luis Obispo County homelessness prevention advocates say they’re seeing an increase in elderly people seeking their services.

Rent costs in San Luis Obispo County have increased over 50% on average since 2013, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the elderly—the majority on Social Security—to keep up with the rise in costs.

Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with Heidi McPherson, CEO with the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County, Garret Olson, COVID-19 emergency operations manager with the SLO Food Bank, Lisa Fraser, executive director with the LINK Family Resource Center and the Center for Family Strengthening, and Janna Nichols, executive director with the Five Cities Homeless Coalition. They will be talking about the struggle of nonprofits to help meet the basic needs of the community as well as what a global depression could mean for their organizations and the local populations they help.

Last year California’s homeless population climbed to 150,000, the most in the nation. Already communities have been struggling throughout the state to deal with this crisis. Now with the outbreak of COVID-19, there are fears that many in this vulnerable population could become infected with the virus. One projection suggests that up to 60,000 homeless in the state could become infected. How can you shelter-at-home when you have no home?

Thomas Wilmer

Teresa Stephens, owner of the Lubbock, Texas Cast Iron Grill recounts her fear of the homeless, until she confronted her phobia and wound up embracing and making sacrifices to feed those in need. Join correspondent Tom Wilmer at the Cast Iron Grill in downtown Lubbock, adjacent to the Buddy Holly Museum, as Stephens shares her poignant tale that ultimately enriched and transformed her life through serving the homeless.

California just counted its homeless—a tally sure to be inaccurate, and politically weaponized

Feb 4, 2020
Craig Kohlruss/Fresno Bee

With yellow vests and flashlights, over 200 volunteers recently fanned out across Fresno to count homeless people. Along the railway, one group walked by a freight container with a mattress and shoes inside, and past a dirt cot enclosed in a tarp pegged to a bush.

Google Maps

Plans for more affordable, supportive housing in San Luis Obispo County are underway, and the project may signal an end to a south county skirmish over where to place shelter for the homeless. The nonprofit affordable housing developer Peoples' Self-Help Housing (PSHH) met with Pismo Beach officials in September to negotiate a possible location in the city. On Tuesday, the nonprofit announced it had gone into escrow on a new site.

Issues & Ideas: Vaping, lavender and a farm-to-school lunch tray program

Sep 30, 2019

On this week’s Issues & Ideas: the state's public health agency has urged Californians to stop vaping immediately, days after Governor Newsom signed an executive order aimed at curbing vaping among youth. 

Courtesy of KING 5

The number of homeless people in San Luis Obispo County increased this year. A recent report from the county’s social services department revealed the number rose by more than 30 percent in 2019, compared to two years ago. A group of people are hoping to help lower the numbers, by trying to create a village of tiny homes to house a portion of the county’s homeless, but there are still hurdles to overcome.

SLO County homeless numbers increase in 2019

Aug 1, 2019
SLO County Homeless Census & Survey/ASR

According to the county’s department of social services, the number of homeless people in San Luis Obispo County rose by nearly 32 percent in 2019, compared to a count two years ago. The latest estimated numbers were released Thursday.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

$5.5 million dollars was awarded to San Luis Obispo County homeless agencies and organizations this week. It came from a pool of hundreds of millions in state grants offered to help house the homeless and create services for homeless youth in counties across California. At Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting, many in attendance were excited about the generous new funding opportunities, but many others weren’t happy with where the money may be spent in south San Luis Obispo County.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

San Luis Obispo County officials, service providers, non-profits and residents gathered Wednesday to discuss what to do with millions of dollars in state funds, aimed at supporting the county’s homeless population. But the meeting became a passionate debate between recognizing a need for more homeless services, and concern over where to put them, particularly a shelter proposed in South County.

Courtesy of the City of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara may be adding some tiny homes to the city's housing stock. In hopes of securing more than $6 million in funding, the Santa Barbara City Council approved a grant application Tuesday that would provide money for 40 tiny houses for the city’s homeless population.

Midterms 2018: Proposition 2 aims for housing for mentally ill homeless people

Oct 16, 2018
www.bishopstreetstudios.org

Should voters approve new housing for an estimated 20,000 homeless people with severe mental illness?

While most people agree the end goal of Proposition 2 is noble, there is disagreement over two-billion in bonds needed to build the homes.

Rachel Showalter/KCBX

A comprehensive study of the California State University System, released in January, found eleven percent of students were homeless one or more times in 2017. This percentage was slightly higher among San Luis Obispo’s Cal Poly students, at 12.3 percent. Students end up homeless for a number of reasons; the lack of financial resources usually tops the list. But in this story, we meet two Cal Poly students who are choosing to be homeless to save their money for other uses. 

Rachel Showalter

San Luis Obispo County has a significant homeless population, many of whom own pets. A program offered by Cal Poly veterinarian students helps many of these pets receive health care. 

1,125. That’s how many people were homeless in San Luis Obispo County on January 30 of this year, when the county conducted a biannual point-in-time homeless census. 

Broadcast date: 6/1/2017

Just turn on the T.V. and you’ll find tiny homes are everywhere! While tiny homes aren’t for everyone, they have the potential to provide affordable housing solutions for certain segments of the community. Whether it be temporary housing for a homeless individual, a permanent residence for someone looking to simplify their lifestyle, or as an accessory unit to a primary residence, tiny homes can provide an attractive solution. And while these tiny homes have sparked a big trend, many municipalities have been unprepared for them from a code perspective, and so they have brought with them numerous challenges for would-be owners, builders and city officials alike.

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