ATASCADERO, Calif. — Echo homeless shelter hosted its 8th annual Long Walk Home Saturday morning, a benefit to help the homeless in Northern San Luis Obispo County.
Echo had a successful march after raising nearly $40,000 from the community in order to keep the program running.
Participants paid a $25 fee which included a barbecue lunch, t-shirt and a tour of the shelter.
Echo says the rising numbers of homeless in the past year have really emphasized the need for the community’s help.
“This past year we have definitely seen an uptick of people coming in for our services. In fact the 2019 Point in Time count, there was almost 1500 people counted in SLO County and there’s only about 200 shelter beds in our county to go around," explained Wendy Lewis, CEO of the Echo Homeless Shelter.
The shelter is primarily funded through donations from the community and each month the shelter has to fill 300 volunteer positions to operate.
Colin Brake is a resident at the shelter and says the support from echo has been vital to helping him get back on track.
“My experience here has kept me clean and sober for four months. They helped me find a job, helped structure me, watch over me, given me guidelines, so its been a wonderful place for me," Brake said.
Echo recently became a 24 hour shelter and added 10 new beds to their facility, totaling 60 available spots.
Lewis says this will help better serve the growing need for housing among the homeless population.
"These are people who have fallen on hard times. There’s a tragedy, a medical something and its really people who are from our community that need us to really wrap our arms around them and that’s why today’s event is so great," Lewis explained.
Lewis says they hope to continue increasing the number of beds available to those in need in the years to come and they want to encourage the community to come out and volunteer as much as they can.
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