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New Grover Beach temporary emergency housing facility for homeless close to opening

Cabins for Change
New "Cabin for Change" housing unit ready to open at new temporary emergency housing shelter in Grover Beach. (Dave Alley/KETY)

GROVER BEACH, Calif. -- A long-planned temporary emergency housing facility for people battling homelessness is set to open within a few days in Grover Beach.

Called, "Cabins for Change," the project is a partnership between the 5Cities Homeless Coalition (5CHC), the County of San Luis Obispo and the City of Grover Beach.

Located on 16th Street and Longbranch Ave, the facility will include 20 small-sized cabins that will provide residents with temporary housing between 90-to-100 days.

"We are really excited about this," said Janna Nichols, 5Cities Homeless Coalition Executive Director. "We have 20 individual cabins. They are all 100 square feet. This is a non-congregate shelter, so the people, instead of sleeping in a dormitory, they each have their own cabin, and we're bringing them in, basically for a housing support program, so the intent is they come in for three months, maybe six months and actively work with us to get into permanent housing."

Clients will have access to 24/7 support, wrap-around case management, and services providing nutrition, recovery and housing stabilization guidance.

According to the 5CHC, all 20 cabins have already been reserved and a waiting list is filling up. The cabins are built for only one individual and are not designed to provide overnight housing.

The ultimate goal for the program is to relocate homeless clients into permanent housing with a three-month timeframe.

"This is going to mean 20 people can have a place that has a roof and that's dry and warm, that they can come home to and they can be here for the duration of their need to be here," said Ken Dalebout, 5Cities Homeless Coalition Board President. "Now we have people that formerly were on the street, but now have a place that they call home, where we can find them on a daily basis, and do all that coaching, counseling and case management with."

The South County currently does not have any emergency housing facilities, so the new project is much-needed as homelessness continues to rise.

5CHS reported unsheltered homelessness in SLO County has grown by 22% over the past five years. It's a growing issue especially in Grover Beach, where a large population of homeless are currently living in the wooded area along El Camino Real.

"We have had an increased with the unhoused in our area in larger encampments," said Kristin Eriksson, Grover Beach Deputy City Manager. "We hope this will be part of the solution for that. We're also making other efforts in the city and we can't wait to see how an innovative program works for our city. We think this is going to be an amazing addition to our efforts here in the city to address homelessness, which is a very complex nationwide issue. This is just one step forward, but it's a big step and we're very excited."

All of the project partners are hoping its success will lead to other similar facilities throughout San Luis Obispo County.

"This is a pilot program, the first of many that we hope to have at the county, so it's a very significant moment for us," said Dawn Ortiz-Legg, San Luis Obispo County District 3 Supervisor. "When we came together this year to create our homeless strategy, we said we needed at least five to 10 more these throughout the county Whether it's the Pallet style, or tiny homes style, or perhaps something else, we don't know, but what we're trying to do is to quickly outlay housing options for those that are willing to work within the programs that we have available and to come out to find the shelter and a path forward in their life."

Cabins for Change were originally scheduled to open earlier this year, but the facility has been delayed due to a piece of electrical equipment that has been on order for several months due to ongoing supply chain issues.

The goal now is to open up next week on Friday, Dec. 23.

The cabins will be funded by CARES Act relief funds from the federal government.

5CHC will operate the facility with 24-hour staffing and will work closely with the Grover Beach Police Department to implement safety measures such as the use of curfews, security cameras and more.

The cabins will be funded by CARES Act relief funds from the federal government.

For more information about Cabins for Change, click here.

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