The City of Grover Beach is moving forward with two homeless housing projects.
The 5Cities Homeless Coalition says that these will be the first homeless housing facilities in South County.
Some nearby businesses are raising concerns but say they are willing to work with the city and the coalition.
Construction is underway at a lot off of 16th Street and Longbranch Avenue-- the future site of 20 tiny cabins that will serve as transitional housing.
“The prospect of being able to give someone a living space that has hard walls and a hard ceiling-- someplace that they will be able to stay for several months and get to the next phase of their housing, it’s exciting,” said Ken Dalebout, 5Cities Homeless Coalition Board President.
The city is also moving forward with plans to build a second, temporary housing facility along South 4th Street.
The Grover Beach City Council approved a 55-year ground lease agreement with the 5Cities Homeless Coalition at its meeting on June 27th.
“We as a city have authorized a lease which allows them to pursue funding through the state, through Project Homekey,” said Grover Beach Mayor Jeff Lee.
The vacant lot, located at 955 South 4th Street, was acquired by the city back in March.
Nearby businesses say they are not against helping the homeless. However, they were taken off guard by the news.
“My initial reaction was shock, we found out by actually watching the news and not from the City of Grover Beach or the homeless coalition themselves,” said Daniel Arndt, owner of Toyworx Automotive.
The automotive shop is right next to the site of the future facility.
The owner hopes to work with the city and the 5Cities Homeless Coalition to find a solution that’s best for everyone involved.
“Parking’s a concern, lighting on the street—there’s only one streetlight on the whole street. Where they enter and exit will be a huge decision,” said Arndt. “Hopefully they can get with us and work out a solution.”
The 5Cities Homeless Coalition plans to meet in person with nearby businesses in the coming weeks.
“I have no doubt that it will impact our business-- we’ve been in business for over 18 years. I’m not too concerned, but it’s weighing on my mind,” said Arndt.
“We’re hoping in the next couple weeks to meet with those surrounding companies and come up with a solution and a program that doesn’t take away from their business,” said Dalebout.
Crews, meanwhile, continue to lay the groundwork for the project at 16th and Longbranch.
“The goal is that when they stay here when they leave in a few months that they get into permanent housing and their life is in order to be able to maintain that,” said Dalebout.
The goal is to deliver the cabins and have that facility up and running by late summer, or early Fall.
“We’re very happy to partner with the county as well as the 5Cities Homeless Coalition to address homelessness in South County,” said Mayor Lee. “It takes the proverbial village and it takes South County as a whole to make homelessness a priority.”
The facility on 4th Street will be similar to the tiny cabin project but will likely look different.
There is no design or exact timeline for construction yet.