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El Camino Homeless Organization in Atascadero selected as ‘2021 California Nonprofit of the Year’

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El Camino Homeless Organization
ECHO Storefront
El Camino Homeless Organization

ATASCADERO, Calif. - El Camino Homeless Organization, or ECHO, proudly announced that it has been selected as this year's "California Nonprofit of the Year" by Senator John Laird.

Senator Laird represents District 17 which contains both Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties in their entireties as well as parts of Monterey and Santa Clara counties.

ECHO is one of more than 100 nonprofits that will be honored by their state senators and assembly members for their significant contributions to their communities.

“We are deeply humbled to be recognized by Senator John Laird as a 2021 Nonprofit of the Year,” comments Wendy Lewis, President/CEO of ECHO. “The services provided by ECHO are essential to helping our community members facing homelessness find permanent housing, it’s such an honor to be recognized on what is our 20th anniversary. We thank Senator Laird as well as all of our community supporters who have made us the organization that we are today.”

ECHO said its mission since 2001 has been to empower the people of SLO County to make positive changes in their lives by providing them with food, shelter and supportive services.

ECHO currently operates three facilities in Atascadero and Paso Robles which offer meals and a safe and secure overnight shelter for families and individuals who are facing hunger and homelessness.

Community members who use their services are given offered case management services to help them get a job and find permanent and sustainable housing.

While staying at ECHO, residents are also taught life skills that can help them join the workforce, become financially literate, manage their health and be a good parent.

“The pandemic and shelter-in-place orders of the past year and a half have put nonprofits – usually hidden in plain sight – in the spotlight,” explains Jan Masaoka, CEO of the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits). “California Nonprofit of the Year is an opportunity for our elected officials to celebrate the good work they see nonprofits doing in their districts, and for everyone to appreciate the collective impact of nonprofits in our communities.”

For more information about ECHO, visit

Lifestyle / San Luis Obispo County
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Jessica Brest

Jessica Brest is a digital journalist and assignment editor for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Jessica, click here.

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