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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. 

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, on any one night in California there are approximately 134,000 individuals without a home. Of these, the state has the highest percentage of unsheltered homeless individuals in the country, at just under 70 percent. Tragically, reports show that families represent one-third of the entire homeless population in the state.

This week we will continue our look at the homeless crisis in California and how it impacts us here on the Central Coast and discuss how funds from the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP)-- a $500 million block grant initiative, meant to provide direct, immediate aid to local governments--- are being distributed locally and plans for their use.

As California’s homeless population has grown, it has become an increasing concern in communities. Last year’s point-in-time count of California’s homeless populations exposed that about 130,000 Californians were homeless, about a quarter of the nation’s total. Contributing to the problem is the state’s chronic shortage of affordable housing. Working to address this issue, California created the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP)-- a $500 million block grant initiative to provide direct, immediate aid to local governments to address California’s homelessness crisis.

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.

Broadcast date: 12/6/18           

While many on the Central Coast will be enjoying the warmth of the holidays over the next few weeks with family and friends, those that are homeless may be caught out in the cold this coming winter. Although a 2017 Homeless Point-in-Time Census Report showed the number of homeless people in San Luis Obispo County has plunged since 2013 by 49% percent, homelessness is still a very real concern for many areas of the County, especially in the North County where services are lacking.

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.

Broadcast date: 8/23/18

The face of homelessness is not what was once pictured a decade ago. They can be your neighbor, friend, relative or coworker once a tragedy strikes. Homelessness affects a community in many ways and empowering fellow community members by assisting them get on their feet and become contributing members of society again is beneficial for everyone in the community.

Tyrone Taylor proudly shares the proclamation presented by the City of Los Angeles proclaiming Tyrone Taylor the Mayor of Skid Row
Thomas Wilmer

Life was chugging along just fine for Tyrone Taylor, that is until he lost his job when the steel plant closed in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania back in 1983. Drugs and alcohol sped his descent. He eventually wound up spending 20 years homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles. 

Broadcast date: 12/22/16

While many on the Central Coast will be enjoying the warmth of the holidays over the next few weeks with family and friends, those that are homeless may be caught out in the cold. Although a 2015 Homeless Point-in-Time Census Report showed the number of homeless people in San Luis Obispo County has plunged since 2013 by 31 percent, homelessness is still a very real concern for many areas of SLO County, especially in the northern parts of the county where the problem has increased and services are lacking.

Paso Robles Police Department

The City of Paso Robles is working to clear out the homeless population from the Salinas Riverbed prior to this weekend's predicted heavy rains. 

Freedom Warming Centers of Santa Barbara CA Facebook Page

Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties are preparing to help the homeless stay dry ahead of more El Niño storms. 

Homeless housing facility opens in Isla Vista

Dec 17, 2014

Santa Barbara County says nearly three dozen homeless individuals will soon have a roof over their heads as a new housing facility has opened its doors in Isla Vista.

It's called the Pescadero Lofts and the first people began moving into their apartments Wednesday. The county's Housing Authority hopes to have everyone moved in by Christmas.

Designs for a new Homeless Services Center in San Luis Obispo are moving forward after unanimous approval Wednesday night by the city's Planning Commission.

National Weather Service

Tuesday and Wednesday could see the strongest storm to hit the Central Coast since a Pacific storm last March slammed into the area.

The bulk of the rainfall is expected to take place from Tuesday afternoon into the evening hours, with up to five inches of rain possible along the local foothills and mountains.

Maria Long is organizing warming shelters to bring people out of the wet and cold this week, through her organization, Freedom Warming Centers.

On Tuesday, the City of San Luis Obispo, the Downtown Association and United Way will present a check for $8500 to the Friends of Prado Day Center.

A series of brightly colored machines resembling parking meters were installed throughout San Luis Obispo's downtown this past spring as a way to collect money for the local homeless population.

On average, the meters have collected more than $125 per month in loose change and credit card payments.

Jannes Giesell

Services for the homeless in San Luis Obispo are set to expand greatly as plans for a new homeless center are moving forward with an infusion of $500,000 from the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors last month.

For those living on the streets of San Luis Obispo, life is made a bit easier with the help of food and shelter services, but currently there are two main centers offering different services in the city and they're more than three miles apart.

At last count, 2,186 homeless individuals were living in the County of San Luis Obispo. Although this number is only slightly up from 2011, more than 86% of SLO residents reported being either “very” or “somewhat” concerned about homelessness in their community in a 2013 survey by ACTION for Healthy Communities.

One of the most important aspects of planning for our community's future is understanding the present. To help do this the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo conducts the Vital Signs reports, which is the latest in a series of reports issued by ACTION for Healthy Communities. The report provides real data on community issues from homelessness to education to quality of life topics.