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Feb 17, 2010 12:19 AM by Monica Quintero

A proposed homeless shelter faces major hurdle on Wednesday

A plan for a new homeless center in San Luis Obispo could get the green light on Wednesday. A 200-bed homeless campus is being proposed for South Higuera Street at Prado Road. It would be located on one acre.

But in order to move forward, the San Luis Obispo County Airport Land Use Commission must rezone the area. That's because it's located within the airport's flight path. The commission will meet on Wednesday.

There are those who have said they fear this will bring more people who are homeless to our community. But those behind the project said it's critical to solving the problem.

Donald Douglass has been homeless for about a year. He said, "I feel it would really be an asset to the community. Especially for the many, many homeless families that I see coming here at an increasing number and a lot of it is the economy."

Part of the time he lives at the Prado Day Center, the other part of the time out of his van. Douglass said, "If I was in a position where I had smaller children, I would really be in a real big fix because of the lack of available bed space in the shelters."

Adam Hill, San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, said, "We're not looking to just warehouse people. We want to get people back on their feet."

The proposed center would be located near other public service facilities such as the Department of Social Services. Hill said, "The idea really is to help transition people back into the community."

Hill said a study shows on any given night more than 3800 people don't have a place to call home in San Luis Obispo County. "A third of those, and this is the really sad and shameful part of it are children. We do not have the resources currently to take care of these people."

Local leaders admit it's a big step to addressing this serious issue. Proponents of the plan feel it's a "natural fit" with a perfect location that the county already owns. Hill said if the commission does give the green light, the process would continue through the City of San Luis Obispo and they hope to start a fundraising campaign this year.


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