SLO councilman asks CAPSLO to drop homeless services

March 21, 2014
Dan Carpenter

Dan Carpenter

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

One week after the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO) shuffled the alignment of its homeless services personnel, a San Luis Obispo city councilman has asked the nonprofit to consider eliminating entirely its homeless services division.

On March 13, CAPSLO CEO Biz Steinberg notified the San Luis Obispo City Council that she was restructuring the homeless services division and effectively demoting its director Dee Torres. Previously, former CAPSLO employees accused homeless services staff, in particularly Torres, of taking gift cards and other donated items and making personal use of them.

Councilman Dan Carpenter replied to Steinberg Wednesday with an email asking her to consider eliminating homeless services from CAPSLO’s makeup and letting other organizations fill the role.

“I would hope CAPSLO would reconsider its involvement and commitment in the homeless services arena,” Carpenter wrote. “I understand it’s a very small segment of the organization and relinquishing those responsibilities to other organizations who are solely committed to serving this fragile population might better serve the community.”

Carpenter formerly defended CAPSLO when allegations surfaced about impropriety by homeless services staff. Last year, he questioned the credibility of CalCoastNews after it reported that thousands of dollars disappeared from the account of a homeless man in CAPSLO’s case management system.

But, in his March 19 reply to Steinberg, Carpenter went so far as to indicate he would no longer vote to fund CAPSLO’s homeless services program.

“As an elected representative of many constituents who demand accountability, I will be representing this position as we move forward with recommendations for homeless services funding,” Carpenter wrote.

CAPSLO receives the majority of its funding from government grants and subsidies. The San Luis Obispo City Council allocates more than $200,000 annually to its homeless services program.

Carpenter also stated that he would not support spending taxpayer dollars on a new homeless services property or building unless an overhaul of the program took place.

For several years, CAPSLO has planned to create a multimillion-dollar homeless services center. Plans have stalled, though, due to lack of funding and inability of the nonprofit to secure a location.

Under the new organizational structure, Torres will manage the Maxine Lewis homeless shelter and the Prado Day Center. She will lose control over the case management program, which handles clients’ money. Instead of reporting directly to Steinberg, Torres will begin reporting to CAPSLO Deputy Director Grace McIntosh.

Torres will also receive a more than20 percent pay cut. Former Prado Day Center Manager Shawn Ison, too, will take a hefty cut in pay, according to an email Torres sent last week.

Steinberg wrote that the changes would make the homeless services division operate in a more fiscally efficient and coordinated manner.

Torres ridiculed them in an email, claiming personal agendas prompted the restructuring.

Carpenter stated the organization shuffling had more to do with image management than serving clients and the community.

“There must be more to this decision than meets the eye,” he wrote.


45 Comments

  1. SanSimeonSam says:

    Lets do the math. They say that there are about 3000 homeless in SLO county. I am not sure how many are serviced by CAPSLO but assume its all 3000. CAPSLO has a budget of 60 million a year. That’s $20,000 per person per year. Now are they getting that ? The graft in this organization is unbelieveable. We need to look a bit deeper into this. The fact that Dee Torres sold donated diapers to young mothers and plastic plates and utensils to other homeless folks as well as stealing money and gift cards is the tip of the iceberg. Its a filthy tip but lets go for the real crooks…like Assbaugh and Biz and the others skimming the cream

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

    • unlisted says:

      Sure, Sam. Let’s do the REAL math.

      CAPSLO spent $2.3 million for homeless services in the year 3/31/12 (www.capslo.org/about-us/funding). That’s a whopping $767 per homeless person.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • freshair says:

        A few hundred, not 3000

        To set the record straight, it’s only a few hundred they actually help, so it’s more like a few hundred Capslo helps, who are mostly displaced families or single mothers.

        The rest who are living on the streets become candidates for Social Security Disability after getting locked into Capslo’s spinning cesspool that is designed to very literally drive a person crazy. They’re condemned incompetent and Capslo gets to manage their money, along with siphoning 70% of it monthly. That’s the sad part. Stuck to live indefinitely at the night shelter, with a 200 bed facility plan in the works.

        Now I hear the cops are rousting the street people to leave town, and they truly are. I met a sweet lady begging for money each day to stay in a motel. She pointed out an unmarked car in traffic and said how she is receiving increased pressure and harassment lately.

        Honestly, I think it’s Capslo’s way to to decrease the numbers that they cannot put their grasp on, because these are the people who know better and wish nothing to do with being labeled crazy or what not in order to receive SSI disability, let alone have it managed by someone else.

        There is only one local agency well qualified to manage that population, known as Transitions: http://www.t-mha.org/

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. rogerfreberg says:

    It seems that running a small town with few resources has brought various issues into clearer focus! We need you here!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  3. deebo says:

    Wow a councilman with common sense! This guy should be mayor!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  4. wineguyjc says:

    Simply a reactionary move. Only when things are blatantly obvious, and simply irrefutable will this guy stand up and demand action – wait a minute, he is the guy that can make things happen, so why is he demanding action from others – this is just simply more grand standing. Carpenter, why don’t you clean house at the City of SLO first?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  5. ironyman2000 says:

    seems like a reasonable and thoughtful fellow to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  6. SLOBIRD says:

    No not be disillusion on this concept. As Adam Hill as passing out his gold medallions to help local politicians, he is behind the scenes getting local agencies to pull support away from CAPSLO and form a “local agency for better control” and then hire a local manager… GUESS WHO! This is all about getting Dee Torres back in control, Adam Hill showing his arrogant power and Carpenter supporting the concept. There is a no win for the homeless in all this and you want to know why, $$$$$$. Look at CAPSLO, a budget of $60 million dollars and this gives them power. Adam Hill, supervisor, power. CAPSLO is just another form of ACORN in its best day and the BOS is just plain corrupt. The network of all the government agencies with all the same players sitting on these boards for Waste Management, LAFCO, SLO County Regional Transportation, APCD, Flood Control and Water Conservation District Website make all the decisions in our lifes, property owners, renters, homeless, businesses, etc. They control out water, wastewater, air, taxes, food, pollutants, trash, roads, safety, medical, mental health, our children, transportation and housing. And it is people like Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson, the righteous of the most righteous, the immoral of the most immoral, the corrupt of the most corrupt, that tell us daily what is best for us to live in happy County of SLO! How lucky can we all be…???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

    • mkaney says:

      These issues can be very complicated, but quite honestly if we wound up with a REAL local agency handling this, even if Dee was at the helm, we would still be better off than we are with CAPSLO. If Carpenter backs such a move by Hill, it is because he did the math and realized that sometimes compromise is necessary to bring down the big beasts.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

      • SLOBIRD says:

        Dee Torres would never be a better option for anything in this County. As for Adam Hill, this man is corrupt, deceitful, dangerous, and should not be a advocate, leader or supporter of anyone or anything as he is plain evil. Just look at all the ill he has brought people and causes in his short time here. We can start with CalCoast News, Dave Congalton, Bill Thoma, Stew Jenkins, Saro Rizzo, Ed Waage, his wife and family, Karen Valie, Debbie Peterson, Debbie Arnold and now he is going for Biz Steinberg, Jim Famalette, Grace McIntosh and he is just starting on this new rant. How much more of this man’s evil. bullying, threatening demeanor evil are we going to tolerate before we all say enough already?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

        • mkaney says:

          I absolutely agree and he should be removed from office ASAP… that being said, there is a reality that we have to work within. Within that present reality, it would be viable and an improvement to eliminate the homeless services from CAPSLO and let Dee run a shelter…. and then start chipping away at the rest of CAPSLO.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  7. achillesheal says:

    Imagine the license to steal whe they get fuNds to build the homeless Xanadu. Will be the west coast version of the big dig.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  8. Pelican1 says:

    I’m reminded of one of Aesop’s Fables, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” While “napping” CAPSLO (our county hare) has just lost to the more measured, practical councilman (tortoise) Carpenter.
    Funny thing how doggedness can indeed be rewarding.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

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