5Cities Homeless Coalition (5CHC), in partnership with the County of San Luis Obispo (SLO) and City of Grover Beach, is working hard to implement a new, temporary emergency shelter model in Grover Beach to help those experiencing homelessness in South County achieve the ultimate goal of permanent housing. There are currently no shelters available in South County, making this much-needed resource extremely valuable to both those in need and their communities.
Homelessness is a complex and ever-growing challenge that touches all communities, having worsened in recent years due to housing scarcity caused by rising rents, limited wages and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsheltered homelessness in SLO County has grown by 22% in just five years. Recognizing this immense and mounting challenge, in 2018 the County Board of Supervisors, along with seven local City Councils, declared a homeless shelter crisis. This made SLO County eligible to receive state and federal funding to address the County’s need for additional shelter and service options. To that end, the temporary emergency shelter in Grover Beach will be funded by CARES Act relief funds from the federal government.
In order to move forward with piloting this new temporary emergency shelter model for the region, a temporary County ordinance was approved to establish minimum safety standards for any subject emergency shelter facility located on County owned or leased public facilities. The ordinance was introduced at the SLO County Board of Supervisors meeting on September 14, 2021 and adopted following a public hearing on September 28, 2021. This ordinance serves as the mechanism that will allow the installation and piloting of the temporary emergency shelter on County property in Grover Beach where operations are planned to begin in 2022.
What Makes This Temporary Emergency Shelter in Grover Beach Different?
The new temporary emergency shelter in Grover Beach will pilot the use of modular cabins, also referred to as “pallet shelters,” which will be placed on currently unused County-owned land located at 16th Street and Long Branch Avenue. This is a non-congregate shelter model, which means that individuals will be housed in independent cabins rather than sleeping all together under one roof.
This approach has two main benefits. It…
- Is more efficient from a construction standpoint
- Has added health benefits since individuals are less susceptible to airborne health challenges like COVID-19 which limited access to and sometimes even shut down many congregate shelters during 2020.
This temporary emergency shelter pilot will provide a comprehensive system of care that incorporates both compassion and structured guidance via an intensive case-managed, limited-stay program on a restricted campus. It will also take advantage of County services provided on the same campus just hundreds of feet away. Through these combined resources, individuals can be lifted out of homelessness and into supportive services and permanent housing. In other words, this can truly be a life-changing experience for those in need.
Check out Sergio’s story and how his experience in a similar program changed his life forever.
5CHC, the County of SLO and City of Grover Beach are committed to the safety and well-being of both the on-site clients and the surrounding neighborhoods. 5CHC, which has extensive experience working with individuals to become self-sufficient and productive community members. For example, in the last 12 months 5CHC has housed 105 households in its rapid re-housing program with the support of community partners. 5CHC will operate the facility with 24-hour staffing and, while issues are not anticipated, will also collaborate closely with the Grover Beach Police Department in addition to implementing safety measures such as the use of curfews, security cameras and more.
Additional details about the temporary emergency shelter facility and program will be added to this page as details are finalized.
Has this method been used in other places?
This shelter model has proven successful in assisting those experiencing homelessness in other communities across the Country and throughout California. A great example of this model is Riverside’s 30-unit shelter, which served 149 people over the course of about a year, with 44 of those individuals permanently housed or reunified with their families, 49 who received tenant-based rental assistance (TBRA) and 25% increased their income. Check out Riverside’s client success stories.
We look forward to the opportunity to pilot this model and evaluate its results of transitioning individuals into permanent housing here in SLO County. However, it is important to recognize that this initiative is one of many needed to tackle homelessness throughout SLO County, and is just one great example of how success is driven by strong partnerships and willingness of communities, government, nonprofit organizations and many others.
This section will be updated as more resources become available.
SLO County BOS Meeting Materials
- September 28, 2021
- September 14, 2021
- May 4, 2021