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San Luis Obispo County leaders continue to tackle the homeless crisis

Posted at 9:14 AM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 12:14:25-04

San Luis Obispo County leaders continue to tackle the homeless crisis by expanding the Kansas Avenue safe parking lot and starting a pallet housing project in Grover Beach.

Dale Norrington, one of many concerned Los Osos Residents, is worried about the growing homeless encampments along palisades, so he called and wrote to elected officials voicing his concerns.

"That particular place is not the place to take care of the homelessness situation in America today," said Concerned Los Osos Resident Dale Norrington.

The group of concerned Los Osos residents proposed a plan to utilize space in El Chorro Regional Park for people experiencing homelessness.

"They wouldn't allow that. Instead, they gave us Kansas safe parking. So we've been, since the beginning, trying to make the best of this," said Norrington.

Assistant County Administrative Officer, Rebecca Campbell, said the Kansas Avenue safe parking lot pilot project has been a success and they are constantly working to make improvements.

"The first day we opened we had one vehicle show up, today the site is full and we have approximately 20 vehicles there," said Assistant County Administrative Officer, Rebecca Campbell.

Since the site is full the county is planning on expanding it and creating new spots.

"We're anticipating to make 10 more sites available for 10 more vehicles," said Campbell.

This weekend they're planning on moving residents just down the road to the Cuesta College parking lot while they winterize the ground and expand the area so that more people can bring their campers and park in the safe parking lot on Kansas Avenue.

Tuesday the county board of supervisors took action to approve an ordinance amendment to the county's building code that would allow a pallet housing project to move forward in Grover Beach. The county has re-declared it's shelter crisis and their action Tuesday allowed them to amend the current building code to conform with state building codes for emergency shelter activities.

"That allowed us to create this non-congregate program utilizing these temporary cabin structures," said Janna Nichols, Five Cities Homeless Coalition Executive Director.

They are looking to put the non congregate emergency shelter on the back portion of the County Campus in Grover Beach in a vacant dirt lot.

"Currently we're envisioning a 90 day program with potential extensions based on participation and success," said Nichols.

Nichols says the real intent is not for this to be a long term stay, but a transition into permanent housing.

The Five Cities Homeless Coalition says their goal is to have the housing units up by early spring.