Fin’s Holds Dinner For 5CHC

Bruce Van Vort, Fins with Dena Bellman, 5CHC Board Member

Bruce Van Vort, Fins with Dena Bellman, 5CHC Board Member

A caring heart

It is a remarkable thing when a business owner chooses to hold a fundraiser by donating 100% of the proceeds, and incurring all of the event costs.  Thanks to Bruce VanVort and Fin’s Seafood Restaurant, we held a great event on Tuesday evening, April 29th. All proceeds from the event were donated to the 5Cities Homeless Coalition, and raised about $10,500. It was truly a night of great fun for a very important purpose.

The community really came out for the  “Dinner for a Cause” to support the 5Cities Homeless Coalition. A great cadre of volunteers stepped in to help, along with Fin’s phenomenal staff that also donated all of their Tips for the evening. Jeff Faber of Opolo Vineyards stepped up to provide wine for the evening, which was made extra special with an array of terrific raffle prizes donated by area businesses. And the food was superb!

Much of the momentum for the event came through the support of Jay Turner, Dave Daniels and the stations of El Dorado Broadcasting including Sunny Country 102.5 and the Fox 99.1.  We’d like to extend a very special thank you to Jay and Dave, our DJ’s extraordinaire!

Funds from this event are already at work helping to provide assistance with housing and immediate needs to help stabilize homeless families in the South County. The 5Cities Homeless Coalition is working to find individual solutions to the unique challenges of homelessness in South County by addressing the needs of our community’s most vulnerable neighbors and developing strategies for long-term solutions.

On behalf of the 5Cities Homeless Coalition, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all who came together for this event, most importantly to Bruce VanVort, owner of Fin’s Seafood Restaurant in Grover Beach. The event was a true testament to the caring hearts that make up our community. If you too enjoyed the evening, we’d ask that you share a comment on Fin’s Facebook page, or give them a review on Yelp or Trip Advisor.


Program Update

homeless webThe 5Cities Homeless Coalition continues to develop and coordinate programs in the South County, with the assistance of many community partners.

The clients served by the Coalition in the first quarter of 2014 ranged in age from pre-birth to 70+, and faced a plethora of challenges. For many it was the consistent on-going contact they received through the Coalition that led them to an improved state. By example we began treating one client for poor oral health through our partnership for dental assistance with Community Health Centers of the Central Coast. While waiting to be seen by the dentist, we engaged the client in additional conversation about other challenges they were facing (in this case several physical disabilities). This led to a connection to various food resources that were available and ultimately connection to the Independent Living Resource Center. Through the ILRC, with financial support of the Coalition, the client was able to move into stable housing – only to discover that a long-lost high school friend would be his new landlord. The client was injured during his military service, and had not been in stable housing for more than a year.   This is but one story of many of those seeking assistance with the Coalition in recent weeks.

Information, Referral and Service Coordination

More than 130 unduplicated clients contacted the Coalition assistance in the first quarter of 2014, totaling over 400 contacts. Of these 40 families/individuals received direct financial assistance for services such as food assistance, housing and residential needs, utility, transportation, and other immediate needs. Among those served were four families who lost their homes and belongings due to fire. Non-financial support was given in partnership with other agencies for support with health needs (CHC Primary, Dental and Behavioral Health, Hep-C Project, Flu Clinic with Arroyo Grande Community Hospital), food (Food Bank and partner pantries), and resource information.

Service coordination remains a key effort in the Coalition’s strategies to strengthen the service network and identify gaps in services. To this end, significant effort is being made to educate the community and providers about other resources in the area. Additionally the Coalition is at work with the County’s Homeless Services Oversight Council, and several individual agencies, working to the challenges of four distinct groups – unaccompanied youth; chronic homeless individuals and families, those being discharged from institutions (hospitals, jails, County mental health) and those who are most vulnerable (due to severe physical health challenges, age, substance abuse, and mental illness).

Click here for more information on resources available in the South County.

We are especially thankful for support received from PG&E, Union Pacific Foundation, Dignity Health, Nipomo Community Presbyterian Church, New Life Community Church and our individual donors for their support of this program.

Housing and Immediate Needs

In the first quarter of 2014, the Coalition was able to assist 39 families and individuals with financial assistance to meet immediate needs and provide deposits for housing.  The spectrum of immediate needs we were able to help with ranged from  food , utilities,  auto parts and repair, gasoline, transportation and more. Among those served were four families who lost their homes and belongings due to fire. We are especially thankful for support received from Community Foundation – San Luis Obispo, Trilogy Service Club and our individual donors for their support of this program.

Winter Warming  Center

While it was a mild winter, the 5Cities Homeless Coalition did open a warming center for one stormy weekend in late February to provide a safe, warm and dry place for homeless adults to find shelter during nights of particularly poor weather.  We also provided some temporary shelter to families at other points during the winter, who were facing unique challenges that prevented them from going to one of the regional overnight shelters in San Luis Obispo or Santa Maria. All in all 19 guests stayed with us at the warming center over the three days. In addition 20 volunteers were involved in the set-up, take-down, preparation and operation of the center, thereby increasing community awareness and deepening their understanding of the challenges of homelessness. During the center operation, clients were provided with a sleeping bag and yoga mat, personal hygiene kits, first-aid supplies, health and resource information, and received personal one-on-one attention by volunteers. In addition clients received a nutritious warm dinner and breakfast. Healthy snacks of fruit, hot soup, cheese, nuts and other foods were made available throughout the night. Of note was the hunger that many clients presented with. These clients repeatedly got up throughout the night to eat (consuming a significant amount of calories), after having received a full dinner.  We are especially thankful for support received from Dignity Health, Community Foundation – San Luis Obispo, the County of San Luis Obispo and our individual donors and volunteers for their support of this program.

Dental Assistance

xray teeth

Since beginning our dental program in October with Community Health Centers of the Central Coast, we have been able to provide 80 homeless clients with needed dental care.  With funding provided by United Way of San Luis Obispo County and the County of San Luis Obispo clients have received cleanings, exams, full treatment and preventative supplies.  Many of these clients have required multiple visits, some as many as 6 times.  With the changes in the Affordable Care Act we have been able to stretch these dollars farther, and provide more extensive treatment. We are especially thankful for support received from United Way of San Luis Obispo County, the County of San Luis Obispo and Community Health Centers of the Central Coast for their support of this program.

Personal Hygiene

The 5Cities Homeless Coalition has initiated several efforts to assist those who are homeless with their personal hygiene needs.  With the support of the Church of Latter Day Saints and Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church we have been able to provide more than 750 hygiene kits to those who are homeless in the last year, working with a variety of service providers in the area.  Additionally feminine hygiene needs are very much in demand, and through donations from Nipomo Community Presbyterian Church Women, the 5 Cities Eco Rotary Club and  WalMart we are providing supplies to homeless young women through Lucia Mar School District, the Youth One-Stop, and Family Resource Centers other providers on a monthly basis.

Additionally, we have begun a unique partnership with Community Health Centers of the Central Coast and Dignity Health – Arroyo Grande Community Hospital.  Community Health Centers has installed a shower for their homeless patients in their health clinic in Grover Beach.  With the support of Arroyo Grande Hospital we are able to provide these clients with towels for the shower, and a hygiene kit for their personal needs.

Warming Center


The warming center is not currently open.  Please check back for additional details should the weather worsen, with rain predicted (at least 50%) for two consecutive nights.  You may also call the warming center hotline at 710-4330. Recent Storm: During the recent storm over the weekend of Feb. 27-March 1, we were able to shelter 19 […]

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Harvesting Hope Festival, Oct. 27, 2013

West Coast SM LOGO

You may purchase your tickets at the door or by clicking the ticket button at left  for the 2nd Annual Harvesting Hope Festival  happening this Sunday, October 27 in Nipomo at Trilogy at Monarch Dunes Clubhouse, 1645 Trilogy Parkway. The Harvesting Hope Festival is a celebration of locally handcrafted art, food and wines. Produced by the […]

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Empty Bowl Community Luncheon

San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation

$38,000 Raised! Many thanks to everyone who contributed to make our 2nd Empty Bowls event a success. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year.  Save the date, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014! More than 750 bowls, created by 30 artists and many students, over 20 restaurants and more than 90 volunteers joined us in helping make this […]

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Village Concert A Great Success

We’d like to thank everyone who supported us on Sunday, Aug. 25 at the Village Summer Concert in Arroyo Grande.  A special thanks goes to Osty Insurance and Farmer’s Insurance for sponsoring the concert, to the many businesses that provided raffle prizes,  and to Rabobank for their on-going support of the concert series. We sincerely […]

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Thank You For Your Support

A.G. Hospital Employees and 5CHC Board Members

Arroyo Grande Hospital We’d like to express our sincere appreciation to the employees of Arroyo Grande hospital for their recent school backpack drive! In our January newsletter we put out the word that more than 40 backpacks were needed for homeless students in the Lucia Mar School District.  Hospital employees stepped up to fill the […]

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Community Services Center Update

Our Vision In collaboration with community partners, our vision is to build a Community Services Center that will offer a range of resources to empower families, children and individuals to receive the education, job training, food and health services they need to become self-sufficient and productive community members.  For more details on the proposed Community […]

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Valentine Serenade Raises $9,500!


Many thanks to Nipomo Community Presbyterian Church, The Quiet Knights, Rick Jarrett, Kim Ford and Steve McAndrew, these generous sponsors and our supporters for helping us put on such a terrific event. Over $9.500 was raised, thanks to your generous support and that of more than 150 silent auction donors, chocolatiers, and volunteers.  Please accept […]

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Good Works Abound

5CHC Holiday 2012 050

It is a fresh year, with much to be thankful for.  We have been working in recent months to compile a directory of the many services offered in South County by local non-profit organizations, the faith community, businesses, individuals and service groups.  We will soon be posting this resource list on our website.  As we […]

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