San Luis Obispo County has 3,774 individuals without permanent housing – 49% of these homeless people are children.The number of workers in the county with income below the poverty level is 28%, double the California state average of 14%. Of adults aged 18 to 64 in the county, 23% have no health insurance. The Food Bank Coalition will put close to 6 million pounds of food on local tables in 2011. The number of homeless students in kindergarten through 12th grade in San Luis Obispo County has more than doubled in the past four years. Over 50% of the county’s 1,847 homeless children are 10 years old or younger.1
The San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation received a $1.5 Million bequest to address homelessness in the South County area. The 5Cities Homeless Coalition, a local non-profit committed to empowering the homeless to become self-sufficient, was selected by the Foundation as the lead organization for the project and recipient of the funding for this collaborative project.
The 5Cities Homeless Coalition will be the lead organization for the South County Community Services Center. Partners with the Coalition will include:
- Community Health Centers (CHC)
- San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation
- Cuesta College
- Catholic Healthcare West
- South County Peoples’ Kitchen
- Community Volunteers
- Faith Communities (South County Churches)
These partners will collaborate to provide:
- Children and Family Programs
- Health and Medical services
- Job Training
- Groceries and Hot Meals
- Housing Assistance
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Services such as those addressing children, nutrition, education/training, job search and health are designed to be available to all in the south county region regardless of ability to pay.
- Benefits services including Social Security
- SAFE bilingual, bicultural Family Advocates will provide parenting education and support, translation services, connection with community resources, and case management
- Youth Coalition will teach specialized parenting classes
- Altrusa will offer literacy programs, magazine & bookmobile, after school tutoring programs
- The 5Cities Homeless Coalition will work with partner organizations to establish job training/education programs in commercial kitchen food handling and culinary arts, warehouse operations, nonprofit leadership, fork lift driving, office operations, and truck driving
- Cuesta College is working with the 5Cities Homeless Coalition to offer career/vocational training, teach job search and life skill classes, offer core curriculum classes, and Nursing School student intern programs
- Computer science/training programs
- South County People’s Kitchen will provide nutritious noon-time meals 365 days a year
- A number of organizations have expressed interest in working closely with the 5Cities Homeless Coalition on the feasibility of building a food preparation/distribution business on site which will also include job training/education/placement
- Mental health services: counseling, substance abuse, and psychiatric services
- Health education and prevention services including Healthy Living classes
- School and community immunizations
- Community Health Centers will provide primary health care services and ancillary services
- Assistance for local veterans to obtain benefits and medical services from federal, state and local agencies will be offered as almost 1 in 5 of the homeless in our county is a Veteran
- Housing assistance for both interim and permanent housing solutions will be available.
- South County People’s Kitchen draws 300 volunteers from 19 South County churches, Arroyo Grande Hospital and the Santa Maria Rescue Mission to feed people 365 days a year
- SAFE volunteers and Youth Coalition volunteers will assist with special events
- Faith Community volunteers will assist in a wide range of programs and activities
- Altrusa International will offer literacy programs, after school mentoring/tutoring programs
- High school and college students will offer mentoring/tutoring programs
- Our estimates indicate that $6.5 Million will be required for acquisition of a site, construction of the South County Community Services Center, and operation of the facility for 4 years.
- Service providers will each pay for their own employee salaries and benefits.
- The good news is that with the anticipated Klaproad Family bequest and in kind contributions, the additional funding support needed would be $5 Million.
 San Luis Obispo County 2011 Homeless Enumeration Report
 City Data Website Poverty Data Statistic
 The Small Area Health Insurance Estimates from the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau
 Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County 2011 Website
 San Luis Obispo Tribune, Sunday May 15, 2011