H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Dec 21, 2012 8:14 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Proposed location for homeless shelter spurs outcry from local businesses

San Luis Obispo business owners are voicing concerns tonight about the location of a proposed homeless services center.
The proposed location is a vacant lot near the Department of Social Services on South Higuera, just south of Prado Road.
While not everyone has a problem with the proposed location, the concerns are over vandalism, litter, parking and safety.
"Well, we're a little concerned about it, because of the potential problems that go along with some of the homeless community," said Steve Hilstein, owner of Music Motive located just across the street from the proposed site.
"We are worried about safety and security for our employees and our customers," says Hilstein, "Oftentimes there's problems with noise and people coming into our facility intoxicated, and it gets pretty scary."
More than 1,800 people live on the streets in the city of San Luis Obispo alone, with only about 60 beds available at the Maxine Lewis Homeless Shelter.
"This facility is not enough," says Elizabeth Steinberg, CEO of CAPSLO.
She says the new center would add an additional 200 beds.
"Put yourself in the place of the people that come in here and have 49 people at night," says Roy Rollings, a volunteer at the shelter, "It's very cramped, it's a bed but it's not particularly comfortable and we're clearly in need of a new place for these people to come."
However, Hilstein says he's not against the $6 million project, he just doesn't want to see it across the street.
"This is our livelihood, we want to be able to protect what we've invested a lot of ourselves in, we have a lot at stake," says Hilstein.
According to San Luis Obispo city councilman John Ashbaugh, city leaders are considering another location near the Prado Day Center. The problem with that is the land is privately owned and the owner is asking for a few million dollars just to buy the lot.
In the upcoming weeks the planning commission is reviewing the proposed good neighbor policy to help ease the concerns of business owners.

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