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Search underway for new homeless services site as Hillside Church battles legal issues

Posted at 11:56 AM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-11 01:21:19-04

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors has given two organizations flexibility with their plans to help house the homeless in South County.

A center offering homeless services and transitional housing for at-risk youth was originally proposed for the Hillside Church location in Grover Beach, but that site is now tied up in a lawsuit.

The Board's decision will ensure that the 5Cities Homeless Coalition and People's Self Help Housing still get the $2.6 million in funds allocated to the project.

"We wanted to make sure that we could put that funding to another place that they might find and say hey, we think we can do what we proposed here and so that was essentially it because when we had allocated it previously, it was very specific for the location they had chosen," explained Adam Hill, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor.

The funds have to be spent by June 30, 2021, and at least 50% of it has to be under contract to a specific location by the beginning of 2020.

"We were concerned that it might put the funding at risk and so the board de-linked the funds to provide more flexibility and to ensure South County could still benefit from the funds," said Laurel Weir, Homeless Services Coordinator, Department of Social Services.

John Fowler, president of People's Self Help Housing, says they will continue their search for other locations to help provide the homeless with housing services.

But Weir says finding a site other than Hillside has been difficult.

"It's certainly a challenge. The needs of the project are fairly specific and there are not lots of options out there," Weir said.

They're now up against the clock to find a location before time runs out.