Late last year, the City of Grover Beach received the green light to move forward with a tiny home style temporary housing project to help people experiencing homelessness find permanent housing.
Marcos Rodriguez says just two months ago he was living out of his car, with poor money management skills, no access to resources, and little sense of direction. He says he was one of the first tenants at Cabins for Change, and at the end of the month, Rodriguez will be leaving the community, now equipped with the tools to begin living on his own.
"A lot of us have lost our way, a lot of us never had it. A lot of us are trying to find our way, and that is what they help us do," Rodriguez said.
"It is kind of coming in and getting their feet on the ground and learning how to live again," added Rachel Perey, program manager of Five Cities Homeless Coalition.
Back in January, Cabins for Change welcomed its first 20 tenants into the temporary housing community and Friday afternoon, members of the homeless coalition celebrated its first group of graduates from the program.
"It is just a celebration of us moving forward, in life," Rodriguez said.
He says during his short stay at Cabins for Change, he was provided with a case manager who helped him with money management, healthcare and ultimately, finding an affordable, permanent place to live.
"Mental healthcare, dentistry, all of that. We are just connecting them to healthcare providers so they can take care of those needs. And then, we start on employment and housing," Perey added.
She says their case managers accompany tenants on visits with a landlord, along with introducing resources for food services, rehabilitation and more.
"You have, a bed to sleep in, you have a heater, you have A/C, you have windows to open up and get some fresh air. And you have a bathroom, and a shower to shower in every day," Marcos Rodriguez explained.
And as Cabins for Change says goodbye to its first members who will be moving onto permanent housing, Rachel Perey says it won't be long until a new group of tenants takes their place.
"Every time one person moves out, we move another one in so we are planning on staying full for the near future," Perey said.
She says their Cabins for Change already have a wait list of people looking to move in. The initiative is part of the County of San Luis Obispo's five-year plan of cutting homelessness by 50%.