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SLO County to get state funds to fight homelessness

San Luis Obispo County is joining other Central Coast counties in receiving millions of dollars in one-time state grant money to fund homeless services and housing projects.

More than $700 thousand is coming from the California Emergency Solutions and Housing program or CESH, $4.8 million is coming from the Homeless Emergency Aid program or HEAP.

Like other counties on the Central Coast receiving the same grant funds, San Luis Obispo County is launching a public participation process to help identify the best use of the money.

The Director of Homeless Services at San Luis Obispo’s new shelter at 40 Prado Road says the grant funds should be used as seed money for new pilot projects countywide to help the homeless including case management services and housing assistance.

“Most pilot phases are not properly funded so what I think is a good idea to do with this funding is to help start some of these pilots, see the success that comes from them and then create that ongoing funding stream in the community”, said 40 Prado Road Director Mychael Castillo, “that means leveraging partnerships with the three different agencies that join this pilot program and then have them write it in to their future grants, I think that would be one of the best things especially if you could take out that big chunk of office space, finding the location and then capacity building including hiring people, so I think a good chunk of it should go to that to fund these pilots that the county never thought they could do get them started.”

San Luis Obispo County will host two stakeholder meetings targeting local homeless-service providers and housing developers, and two open public forums, where any interested members of the community can express concerns and comments regarding the needs of homeless individuals and families in the county.

County staff will summarize the input collected from each event and present it to the Homeless Services Oversight Council (HSOC), which will then facilitate a discussion on prioritizing the most pressing needs.

Once the County has been awarded funding from the CESH and HEAP programs, it will release a local Request for Proposals.

A non-conflicted ad-hoc grant review committee will be assembled to review proposals and select recommended projects to be funded by the CESH and HEAP programs.

The committee will then present their recommendations to the HSOC at a public meeting.

Following the HSOC’s approval of the recommendations, they will then be presented to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors who will make the final determination as to what programs and activities will be funded.

The County will track outcomes for funded projects and will report back to the State on the results.

The first open public forum is November 7 from 6:00 p.m – 8:00 p.m. at the South County Regional Center at 800 W. Branch Street in Arroyo Grande.

The second public forum in the north county will be held on November 15 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Polin Community Room at the Atascadero Library at 6555 Capistrano Ave, Atascadero.

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