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Paso Robles moves forward with plans for city’s first homeless shelter

Posted: 8:28 PM, Mar 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-21 23:28:57-04

Plans are moving forward to build a homeless shelter in Paso Robles.

This would be the first permanent homeless shelter in the city.

Tents and belongings are scattered along the Salinas Riverbed. It’s a place some folks have decided to call home, including Florence Stauffer.

“I just lost my, oh my gosh I don’t want to start crying,” said Stauffer “I just lost my house about a year and a half ago by helping people out so about a year and a half I became homeless and I hate it.”

We told the mom of four about the city’s plan to create a shelter.

“Do you think that, if they do end up building a shelter that you would utilize the services?” we asked.

“Yes, I would. 100 percent,” Stauffer said. “I would because I think every day of waking up alive down there in the riverbed.”

The proposed shelter would serve as a safer and cleaner alternative to life in the riverbed.

With the potential to be located next to the Paso Robles Water Treatment Facility on Sulfer Springs Road, parallel to Highway 101, the 5,000 square foot building with 36 beds would be utilized during the colder months.

“The shelter itself will be open for overnight stay in the months of November through the end of March in the first year,” said Julie Dahlen, City of Paso Robles Community Development Director.

The site would be open all year, however, with showers and laundry facilities.

ECHO will be able to provide social services and Paso Cares will serve food daily. This would eliminate warming shelters at churches and the food site on Riverside Avenue.

“We’re thankful for the churches for hosting it for the last four years but it’s causing us a lot transportation costs because we got to get them where we feed them on Riverside all the way to the churches and back in the morning,” said Ed Gallagher, Paso Cares Board Member.

The city has applied for Homeless Emergency Aid Program grant funds to pay for the roughly $1,800,000 project.

We’ll learn in April if the funding was approved.

The soonest it could go up is November of 2020.