Homeless booted from Sunny Acres—including daughter of Maxine Lewis

August 30, 2011

More than a dozen homeless people left the Sunny Acres sober living facility in San Luis Obispo last Sunday—including the adult daughter of local homeless advocate Maxine Lewis.

The Sunny Acres residents were asked to leave by rancher Dan DeVaul following a court order by Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall, threatening to take control of the Los Osos Valley Road facility if people continued to live in what the county deemed unsafe structures.

Crandall made no provision in his order for where the homeless people are supposed to find shelter.

Among the residents ejected was Linda Lewis. Her late mother was a long-time, fervent champion of local homeless causes and the county eventually acknowledged Maxine Lewis’ work by naming the Orcutt Road overnight homeless facility in her honor.

“It makes me ill,” said one Sunny Acres volunteer, when asked about Linda Lewis’ forced departure.

DeVaul is due back in court in September.

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All the same arguments here on this, but this time the “law ” has deemed it necessary to move people off the property into the street this is just plain wrong, now what about those peoples safety now living under a bridge or in their car this is not right. On the other hand of Dan would clean up his eyesore garbage this may have gone away along time ago all that trash he has around there is not needed to run his “farm” IE: piles of dirt, broken trucks,tractors and just misc trash, the place is a dump, I’d bitch too if I had to look at this crap.

Also a little education on this property, Duval rented it for many years it belonged to L J Morgante, Dan bought it in the late 8o’s or early 90’s it was a large farm house with a barn and dairy on the property, and was farmed and had cattle on it, Duval’s owned a piece of property across from the laguna fire station on Los valley rd right where the apartments are now located, that was sold to the developer, and then the church bought the other section from the X Morgante property so I really don’t think that Dan is hurting for money, he’s not in it for the money, what is it $300 a month or work on the property, not a large sum if you ask me. Not a lot different than the old Roandoak set up in Morro Bay, they require you to hand over any moneys you get from the govt in order to live there, no money no stay, the apostle kicks them out, Dan just won’t do that he is serious about helping these people. I believe it has been in print that Dan has been in their shoes many years ago.

Christine Mulholland has been off the council for many years, and Sunny Acres is in the county so it is the BOS who have driven this thing, not the city. Mulholland was an excellent councilperson by the way, often the lone voice speaking up for the average Joe. She had some very real ‘issues’ with Sunny Acres that most of us would have echoed if living nearby. BUT, moving people out of there into the unknown is folly. Anyone out here want to take some of them into their home?

The safety of the place is an issue but so what? Would any councilperson or Supervisor want to let me inspect their abode for safety issues, and permits? How safe are those people ‘on the street’?

Of course all this is clouded by the issue of Dan’s ‘orneriness’ that many have commented on. And county liability. Real issues with sticky solutions. If I were king I would have announced to the county populace we are making ONE exception to the rules here because of his good works and enable/force him to do minimal safety upgrades that satisfy humans, not the dumb ‘rules’. Maybe he already has done that, I don’t know. I don’t know a lot about this saga other than reading what everyone sees. I just know that this problem can be solved short of just evicting everyone, what a simplistic and fascist thing that is.

“Would any councilperson or Supervisor want to let me inspect their abode for safety issues, and permits? How safe are those people ‘on the street’?”

I’ll bet that their homes are up to code. What if I want to build a house, I don’t want to pay for expensive permits if DeVaul doesn’t have to pay for permits. This would open the door for everyone to live in shacks or homes that aren’t safe. Also what if one of those shacks catches on fire. The county could and most likely would get sued for allowing people to live in buildings that aren’t up to code. If they didn’t know about them then that would be one thing but they do so they are held by law to prevent the county from being liable. Lets but the legal aspects aside. Have you been in those places or that other bigger building? Have you checked the electrical and the structural integrity? I haven’t but perhaps they really are unsafe, perhaps they are an accident waiting to happen, do you really think it’s the right thing to do as far as housing people in a place that’s unsafe? From what I’ve seen they don’t look too good but I can’t say for sure if they are safe or unsafe and I’m guessing that you can’t either.

Have to agree with typo and disagree with hotdog.

DeVaul has been doing this kind of stick your middle finger up at the city and it’s rules and regulations for decades. Back in the 70’s there was no DeVaul “estate”, and no homeless camp, just a run down old farm fallen into disrepair. The rest we see today has been built and brought to the site by Mr. DeVaul to enhance his “estate”

I understand we have a homeless problem but it should be handled in the proper way and the conditions should be healthful and safe. IMHO, he could have raised all the money to build safe structures and supply a place that the City, County and citizens would be happy to support jsut by asking and doing the right thing.

Instead we have what we have today…

Let me see if I got this right.

A daughter — I assume she is young — is living among some questionable men in a place that, as I understand it — has held a large group of serious offenders and sex offenders… I seem to remember they removed 15 or so of these gentlemen at one time.

Do you remember that it was one of his ‘cooks’ that killed a woman downtown? This isn’t your normal homeless center.

I don’t think Christine is a saint… but she stood up to be counted against the insults and abuse of those who will do everything in their power to keep his ‘project’ in our neighborhood and not theirs. Didn’t someone forklift a dead cow and place it on Christine’s fence… or was that just a tale? What would you be willing to do if this project moved in next door? If memory serves me, there was a ‘sunny acres’ across town years ago… I think it was a reform school. Is there a connection?

Besides having ones property and life ‘DeVaul-ued’ … I feel he has not been a good or gracious neighbor.

Please define “good” so we can all get a sense of your moral compass. Thank you.


DuVaul was there first, running his sober living facility. Christine and neighbors came in later.