On Saturday, El Camino Homeless Organization, or ECHO, hosted their 10th annual Long Walk Home Event in Atascadero.
According to the organization, the march represents the walk that people facing homelessness make every day in their search for a permanent home.
Tickets were $30 for adults and $10 for kids with all proceeds going to the shelter.
Participants made a loop starting at ECHO Atascadero and turning back at the landmark Rotunda Building in the Sunken Gardens. Following the walk, participants were given a to-go style BBQ meal.
Shana Figard is both a client who uses the ECHO shelter services, as well as an overnight coordinator for the new location in Paso Robles. She said, “My kids feel safe here and it's been amazing. It's been great.”
“The money will go to support our work not only here in Atascadero but at our new facility in Paso Robles as well,” Wendy Lewis, the CEO of ECHO told KSBY.
This past year, ECHO served thousands of people who needed housing support - about two hundred people are able to stay overnight but hundreds more come for meals and showers and other services.
“I think it's important to keep solidarity with the houseless to serve them in a respectable, honorable way which ECHO has done such a wonderful job of dealing and the fact that even though we may not see them as community members they to belong to our community so it is important that we push those issues to the forefront,” said Yessenia Echevarria, who marched in a team of three and is part of another organization that provides services to the unhoused.
“I know it says problem statewide not just locally. So I just wanted to do something positive, ” explained Peter Romwall, a volunteer who came with his family.
The goal for the fundraiser was forty thousand dollars, and according to organizers, they will know the final number this weekend, but are optimistic.
Shana said, “My kids are here and I know they're cared for here so even after I do get housed like I'll be coming back here, because these people are wonderful and there's not a whole lot I wouldn't do for them.”
ECHO provides food, shelter and supportive services to those facing homelessness in San Luis Obispo County. More information on the shelter can be found at www.echoshelter.org.