San Luis Obispo’s homeless barred from services

April 19, 2013


Scores of homeless, barred from Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo’s homeless services, spend their days begging for food, looking for shelter and avoiding city police who target them.

CAPSLO receives more than $60 million in government funding and support each year to provide services to those in need, including San Luis Obispo’s homeless population. But, the homeless are required to follow a set of rules imposed under the tenure of Dee Torres, homeless services coordinator. If the homeless don’t follow the rules, they are suspended or barred from receiving help.

Peggy Fowler, a former 20-year employee CAPSO’s homeless services, says the refusal to provide food to homeless barred from services is not only cruel, but also increases the likelihood someone will resort to stealing in order to eat.

“Suspensions from homeless services are for violation of the rules which include throwing a cigarette butt on the ground or arriving five minutes early,” Fowler said. “I felt that making someone sleep in the dirt for failing to do a chore is wrong.”

The rules include a ban on giving food to homeless persons who have been suspended from the program, entering the Prado Day Center through the driveway on foot and failing to control the physical tics and other behaviors resulting from medical conditions or mental illnesses.

If a homeless person fails to follow Torres’ rules, she bars them from receiving meals and a place to sleep and shower, according to the program’s rules and dozens of citations CCN staff have viewed. Many of those barred are refused services for months or years because they are unable to make it through a laborious readmission process Torres has put into place, Fowler said.

“The individuals who are homeless have priorities like, ‘where can I go to the bathroom,’ ” Fowler said. “We are withholding services that are paid for by both the federal government and the local community. Their whole system and lack of recourse is not right. The punishment of refusing food and shelter is pretty severe considering the rules broken.”

Erica Merchado has received several suspensions from CAPSLO’s homeless services, despite having a terminal illness, former 30-year employee Estella Bonds said.

Merchado, 32, has Huntington’s disease, which causes her arms to make constant involuntary movements. She was diagnosed with Huntington’s when she was 21 and entered CAPSLO’s homeless services two years later, Merchado said. Merchado utilized the services for more than five years.

CAPSLO last suspended Merchado about three years ago for taking her lunch out of the Prado Day Center to the bus stop on Prado Road, Merchado said. Staff also suspended her for taking food from the day center to a suspended homeless client, Bonds said.

Merchado now sleeps under the Madonna Bridge and spends much of her day sitting outside Circle K on South Higuera Street with other homeless who beg for food.

One rule strictly enforced by CAPSLO prohibits the homeless from coming within an eighth of a mile, or 660 feet, of the Prado Day Center between 4 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. and within an eighth of a mile of the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter between 7:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. Torres enforces the policy because her employees are afraid of the homeless, so she wants the homeless out of the area when employees are coming and going, she said.

If a staff member sees a homeless person, or even property belonging to a homeless person in the restricted area during those hours, it results in a suspension from services, according to CAPSLO rules. While suspended from services, the homeless can still incur more penalties. Many short suspensions compound into longtime bans, said Joette Sunshine, a former employee of homeless services who worked there for four years.

When a homeless person is suspended from services, that person is only allowed to enter the eighth of a mile zone surrounding both the day center and night shelter during one 15-minute time slot each day. If a homeless client wants obtain a print out of violations committed or acquire an application to re-enter services, the person must get in and out of the day center restricted area between 11:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. and the night shelter restricted area between 7:00 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Failure to do so triggers an additional 30-day suspension.

Michael Pryor, an out-of-work computer technician and a former singer, received a 30-day suspension for cheating CAPSLO’s lottery system in an attempt to secure a bed in the shelter on a rainy night. Pryor used a ticket from an earlier night that someone had given him, and CAPSLO staff caught him.

Though Pryor received only a 30-day suspension, he is now suspended from services for 270 days because CAPSLO employees have spotted him within an eighth of a mile of the day center and night shelter outside of the 15-minute time slots, Pryor said.

Pryor sleeps outside. One day, he went to the shelter on a cold, rainy night to ask staff for a blanket. CAPSLO staff refused him a blanket and instead gave him an additional 30-day suspension for entering the restricted area.

Tiamoyo Peterson quit working for CAPSLO’s homeless services several years ago after taking her concerns of the treatment of the homeless to CAPLO’s CEO Elizabeth Steinberg, Peterson said.

Peterson, who has two masters degrees and a doctorate in social psychology, said she became concerned when Torres kicked out a homeless woman in her late 20s because the client was not always able to control her schizophrenia and would be obnoxious at times.

“It was (CAPSLO’s) position that Dee had a valid point of view and I shouldn’t have contradicted her,” Peterson said. “In this instance, the client’s behavior was obnoxious not dangerous. Dee believes that not only can a schizophrenic control their behavior, but that they should be punished when they cannot. Punishment for mental illness is inappropriate.”

Steinberg promoted Torres to the top position in homeless services around the same time a countywide Homeless Services Oversight Council was created.

In 2008, Torres’ boyfriend San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill became the founding chair of the Homeless Services Oversight Council, a group with a plan to end homelessness in 10 years by promoting a 200-bed shelter to be managed by Torres. Those staying at the shelter are to be required to give 50 to 70 percent of their income to case management allegedly to be used to get them into housing.

Several law enforcement agencies are looking into allegations that those managing the required savings accounts have been misappropriating the funds.

Together with San Luis Obispo City Councilman John Ashbaugh, Hill and Torres have worked to have the city and the police increase enforcement against homeless who refuse to enter case management.

Both Ashbaugh and Hill have regularly voted to provide government funding to CAPSLO. Ashbaugh sits on the CAPSLO board of directors and Hill is engaged to Torres but both men say there is no conflict of interest.

Earlier this year, the San Luis Obispo City Council voted to have police increase ticketing of homeless who do not participate in case management.

The SLO Downtown Association recently asked those in favor of supporting CAPSLO’s homeless services’ programs and who want the city to dedicate two police officers to focus on transients downtown to sign an online petition.

The city’s police department recently chose to implement a Community Action Team (CAT), composed of two officers who focus on transients in San Luis Obispo. Several local law enforcement personnel who say it is not constitutional to focus on a group of people and not their actions are referring to CAT as “Cops Against Transients.”

San Luis Obispo Chief of Police Steve Gesell says his department neither categorizes people, nor enforces the law based on status.

“We are trying to enforce the law equally but it would be foolish of us not to understand the dynamic of the homeless transient population,” Gesell said.

In 2012, San Luis Obispo police officers cited 605 people for breaking Penal Code 647(e) which makes it a misdemeanor to “lodge in any building, structure, vehicle or place, whether public or private, without the permission of the owner or the person entitled to the possession or in control of it.” In the rest of the county, only one person was cited for breaking Penal Code 647(e) in 2012, according to records requests received from all community and county law enforcement agencies.

Gesell says his department is utilizing 647(e) as a way to combat the environmental impact human waste from homeless campers has on the community. He refers to those homeless not utilizing CAPSLO’s services as program resistant.

SLO police officers are giving 647(e) citations to homeless found sleeping in parks, on benches or anywhere throughout the city. They also routinely roust homeless, including Merchado, who sit outside Circle K, even though customers of the convenience store and the adjacent Subway sandwich shop frequently buy them food.

On April 11, former CAPSLO employee Estella Bonds visited Merchado outside Circle K, and when a police officer arrived he not only scolded Merchado, but Bonds too.

Officer Eric Lincoln ordered Bonds to leave and told Merchado, “Come on, Erica. You know better.”

“If they’re running a homeless shelter, they’re not going to make any money,” Lincoln said. “They call. I come — kind of like the Domino’s Pizza Guy.”

Bonds told Officer Lincoln that she was not homeless and he stopped ordering her to leave the area.

Defending CAPSLO’s rules and penalties, Torres and Hill said at a SLO City Council meeting last year that homeless people need structure and management. After the meeting, former Councilman Andrew Carter said that the rule against being on Prado Road should be followed to discourage homeless from bothering business owners.



Did everyone hear the breaking news this afternoon:

Dan De Vaul, supervisors reach agreement to allow sober-living facility

The SLO County Board of Supervisors has reached an agreement with local rancher Dan De Vaul that will allow him to pursue plans to construct a sober-living facility for the homeless, resolving a lawsuit filed by De Vaul against the county in 2009.

YEA !!!! One small step for the homeless! (via Tribune)


I’m not an accountant, so…

I’d like to see, in layman’s terms, in an article, the breakdown of how much each homeless person gets in services, per day – and not just the dollar amount, but exactly how much food and of what quality, how much personal space, how many gift cards, how many times do they get to visit the bathroom vs. how many stalls are available vs. how many people are competing for the same stalls, etc.

You know, practical, daily-living stuff that regular folks can relate to.

At the same time, I’d also like to see the comparison of how much each PAID WORKER/ADMINISTRATOR gets per day in salary, benefits, cash, perks (free lunches?), freebies (like gift cards), personal space, visits to the restroom (I’m assuming they don’t use the same bathrooms as the homeless, right?), etc., as well as the penalties imposed for parking in the wrong spot, going through the wrong door, arriving/departing at the wrong time, forgetting to punch-in/punch-out, etc. (probably none, lol).

Perhaps we need to go to the volunteer model of helping the homeless where nobody gets paid? We could have more community involvement with more volunteers rotating through, rather than just dumping cash, gift cards and donations off at the door and walking away patting ourselves on the back and feeling good about ourselves for “helping the homeless.”

In other words, maybe we could ALL take responsibility, roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty for a change? Maybe even develop relationships and (gasp) make friends with “the homeless.”

Because I just hate, hate, hate this social trend toward depersonalizing and dehumanizing people into stereotypical “groups” that need to be “dealt with.” We’re ALL human, OK y’all? We need to STOP letting the social engineers divide and conquer and manage us like a bunch of stoopid sheep.

OK, on second thought, maybe there needs to be a couple of full-time, on-site paid administrators to coordinate everything, but this business model of turning “helping the homeless” into an industry of greed and corruption needs to come to an end NOW.


“Tiamoyo Peterson quit working for CAPSLO’s homeless services several years ago after taking her concerns of the treatment of the homeless to CAPLO’s CEO Elizabeth Steinberg, Peterson said.

Peterson, who has two masters degrees and a doctorate in social psychology.”

For clarity: Tia Peterson is Peggy Fowler’s daughter. Tia worked for a short time in Homeless Services, roughly 1998/1999 and did not have her education at that time.

“Erica Merchado has received several suspensions from CAPSLO’s homeless services, despite having a terminal illness, former 30-year employee Estella Bonds said.”

Just for clarity: Estella Bonds only worked for Homeless Services for approximately 2-3 years.


And you bring this “clarity” because you are?

When you have information that contradicts the reporting, please cite how it is you’ve come to know this information. I welcome additional information that pertains to this story so it may also be researched as well.

I think we all want to truth no matter the outcome.

Thank you for your post


I am a long time volunteer. Try it out sometime.


Thank you for your service! I have not volunteered yet however have had long standing intentions to do so. I applaud you again as well as NuVo for doing what I have only intended to do up to this point.

Since you’ve been there have you seen the things stated in previous reports pertaining to gift cards and items being sold to the clients?


I have NEVER seen any misuse in all of my years. The donations always go to the clients. The only items that have been charged for is when we didn’t have razors, we charged a quarter to repurchase more razors. There is a regular razor donor currently so we have not charged for anything in quite a while. I have seen more staff dish out their own money for supplies that anything. Toiletries are not in the budget as they usually get enough donated but occasionally fall short. I have never had any reason to believe any of the staff have done anything but work their tails off to provide for their program and clients.


Thank you very much for responding to my question.

I, like many others in this community truly do hope that the allegations presented are untrue. Speaking for myself, I have no trust in the program until these issues have been addressed properly by an outside agency.IMO CAPSLO didn’t do itself any justice by circling the wagons and not addressing the public on these issues. To me this would’ve been a better way to prove no wrongdoing occurred. The definition of trust through transparency was lost by those actions. Also, I have no doubt there are some good, honest and caring people who provide outstanding services within the CAPSLO organization however the managements actions in response to those allegations have no doubt placed a black cloud over the whole program. If all or some of the allegations turn out to be true; the responsible parties will then face the consequences for those actions. We here can only speculate and wait for the outcome such as that may be.

Just my Opinion


It is unfortunate that a press release was not put out explaining actions taken and clarity to a great deal of misinformation. I agree with you in a way it does make it look like there is guilt or validity in a way by not answering. All attorneys for all parties involved have advised against giving any of this any more fuel. There have been numerous additional audits and investigations from outside agencies since all of this began. They will answer to any and all government investigations, audits, courts, but they will not answer to any media, as advised. So again, it is unfortunate that there are no answers to the community. I just couldn’t sit on my hands any longer and not say something. I believe in the work they do, I see all of those they help and I commend them for their compassion and care regardless of what others may think or feel. I’ve said my peace and appreciate someone listening.


At the outset of this whole thing, I recall Dee Torres commenting numerous times on this site practically begging people to come see for themselves and ask her directly. Unfortunately, this site trades in gossip and “sources.” I don’t know anything about CAPSLO, other than having met Biz Steinberg years ago, but I think allegations deserve to be viewed through a skeptical eye. Nothing I’ve seen in the numerous stories have squelched that skepticism. The truth is, whatever CAPSLO folks say now will be met with conspiracy theories you typically read here.


You must be a very important volunteer to be privy to such internal information, like what attorneys are advising and what audits and investigations have occurred.


In a previous article one of the employees stated she was terminated for purchasing something for a client, so it’s ok for current workers to use their own money now? O-skeptical-1?


Staff and volunteers can donate items that supply the whole population (breakfast cereal, feminine hygiene items, earplugs, coffee, etc) but cannot supply individuals with items as it looks like you are showing favoritism.

From Disneyland

For clarity: How long is a long time volunteer. And since when does a “volunteer” have knowledge of a personnel matter? I also have volunteered and have no personnel knowledge of when staff where employed and for how long. Just saying…..


Has it occurred to anyone that there are many long time volunteers in homeless services? 5+, 10+ and even 15+ year volunteers (20+ with People’s Kitchen)? Those of us that have been in this for a while of course are concerned about these accusations. What we don’t know first hand, we ask about. We’re in the trenches too, we know staff, we know clients, we know about the operations. We’re offering our experience and knowledge which clearly doesn’t want to be heard. I give, you’ve already made up your minds.


Hey, you tried. And if you’re still checking these comments, thank you for your years of volunteering.


Don’t feel you aren’t being heard, but long time volunteers aren’t always given all the information due to legal issues that could arise from confidentiality breaches. Volunteers are valuable to an organization and they want to keep them therefore the information shared is normally the bare minimum. They dont involve volunteers in what could be ugly realities of the daily operations, by doing so they could lose people depending upon the situations. I realize you may work daily with the players involved but there are certain things that involve administration that is kept even from paid staff. Most large organizations operate on a “need to know basis. “I believe people posting in response to these articles are truely caring and concerned individuals that want answers. It’s not just one or two people who are telling a story. It’s several and they all have the same stories. I’m sure you must know some of these individuals and do you think they are just making up stories?

Thank you for your years of service, sounds like you are one of ones that are really here for the homeless.


So you, a volunteer, have all the answers, know all the players, all the clients, all the incidents, have seen nothing wrong, know everyone but current employees are right, think this is a top run organization, have no name, no credentials, and provide no background. Thank you for your input!


So typical of comments here. Someone with personal knowledge shares that knowledge, nothing more, nothing less. SLOBIRD’s reading comprehension skills morphs that into, “you have all the answers, blah, blah, blah.” So SLOBIRD, let’s hear about what you personally know about this situation.


Homer meets his match! lol


So ran out of fact’s and now going after people?

homer Just because someone disagrees with you. does not mean they don’t understand.


I’m sort of ready to throw in the towel myself. zaphod: This may seem like some game to you. Whatever. kettle: If you’re going to comment on everything I post, please do me the favor of reading those posts. The reason I say that is because your responses make absolutely no sense.


I did and I have. You are entitled to your own opinion, some of us disagree.

How hard is that to understand?

Your not the first anonymous media critic to grace these comments.



Estella Bonds called the Dave Congalton show yesterday and stated that she was a 30 year employee… your clarification posting above, you leave folks with the impression that the reporting is incorrect by saying she only worked for homeless services for 2-3 years. One would then naturally assume that she was not a 30 year employee thus falsely damaging her credibility. The fact that she worked in homeless services for 2-3 years may indeed be true however she stated she was a 30 employee, this to me means she worked in many different capacities throughout her 30 years of service.

I’m a firm believer in “truth in reporting” so when you wish to clarify (which IMO is correcting misleading information) reported information; please don’t fall into the same trap of misleading the reader.

I do hope that was not the intent


I also know of Estella Bonds and what was stated as her being a 30 year employee is definitely misleading. Her time employed witht Homeless Services is in fact only about 2-3 years. I do feel that there is definate intent to mislead. This is why I have been so adamant about posting here. Also with the statement made in the article about Tiamoyo they do not put into perspective the timeline. She was employed with Homeless Services shortly after graduating High School. long before she had the degrees she currently has.


Ok, so you say you know “of” Estella Bonds however you continue to question the honesty of her statement of being a 30 year employee by saying it’s misleading. She didn’t say she was working specifically with homeless services for those 30 years……..the years she spent on the homeless services side is irrelevant to her original statement, to which I might add has been reported and then confirmed by her as well.

Please explain how this is misleading? Your post misleads readers into thinking was not a 30 year employee, why would you do this?



I am not the one that originated this statement. I was only making my observation and was taking my time to answer your question to the best of my ability as a second person. as you see in your request you where asking O-Skeptical-1. So that is why my statement is written as I know “of”… I to listened to Dave Congalton show yesterday and hear her statements as well. I can not confirm or deny her statement of being a 30 year employee of CAPSLO/EOC. I can only state that she was only with the Homeless Services department for the 2-3 years, as I had not known of her before she was employed with that department.

As for what is misleading is that the nature of people is to assume and or fill in the blanks themselves. I see alot of it going on on this comment board. Everyone does it myself included. So when most people see the statement of 30 year employee of CAPSLO in relation to this story the assumption is going to be made that she has 30 years employed at homeless services and that she has expertise in this field of work.

Like my pointing out the budget of Homeless Services being far less than what was, people are going to naturally assume from what is being published as a whole. Also goes for this 30 year employee that for all you know the 27-28 other years she could have been a janitor. I am not saying that this is what she use to do, but is only for comparison of the difference in jobs. Because frankly I do not know what she did before at CAPSLO.

I am not about misleading, I am about the truth as I know it


Thank you,

I think we’re both on the same page then.

1. Estella worked in homeless services for 2-3 years (according to NuVo) (the other service time served for a cumulative 30 years is “unknown”)

2. CAPSLO has an annual budget of approximately 60M (approximately 2.8M annually is slated for homeless services)

Now we move on :)


DennySLO, I would be asking Estella Bond what she meant when she said she was employed for 30 years. She certainly did not work for CAPSLO for thirty years. I think Biz is the only one who has worked there that long, starting it up as a small organization and building it up to what it is today. It is interesting the way they portray her as a “home economics teacher” as not worthy of holding a high position.. Yes, she loves children, but what some of the posters are claiming is that without a degree, people shouldn’t hold top level positions. I find that insulting. Now back to Estella: Homeless Services is the name of the program at CAPSLO. If Estella of means, she donated or feed people or gave out things to people on the streets on her own, than she could consider that homeless services, but not CAPSLO Homeless Services Program. This sounds like a matter I would address to Estella, because when O-Skeptical-1 answered, I would bet he is referring to Homeless Services.

I believe there is a lot more to the story regarding Erica Merchado’s than is told. As is the story about Family Ties, and Cliff Anderson. I am wondering why these medias don’t put Cliff on the Dave C. show? The biggest dilemma is that no homeless advocate, case manager, etc, at least from CAPSLO, wishes him harm. Therefore those familiar with his story are not going to come out and expose the inaccuracies with either his statement or ccn’s reporting and the facts that are being omitted. I hear he broke his foot. Wonder how that happened? And I wonder if anyone is helping his get to the doctor?



I think your post should be directed towards NuVo as I’m not questioning Estella Bonds statement, NuVo is.

Btw, I am aware that the organization was EOC before it was renamed to CAPSLO.

As far as the folks questioning Biz’s educational background I do agree with you. A persons abilities to lead from a top level position are measured by their performance as a leader so, with that said, I also agree with others questioning her leadership based on the statements she has made regarding complaints and her actions to date regarding the lack of addressing the public in response to the question posed to her. According to her there have been NO issues reported EVER, I find this hard to believe. It’s been reported by CCN that there have been many statements made to the contrary as well as emails proving this fact. There were statements made saying that a agency (I don’t know who) was brought in to interview the employees regarding the many complains made regarding management and the treatment of the homeless previous to the current reporting by CCN.

A far as Mr. Anderson, I do hope he is doing well. I understand that there are many people looking after his wellbeing. As far as putting him on the radio, I don’t think that will serve his interests at this point as he is under the competent guidance of Mr. Jenkins. We will have to wait for official news when it becomes available.



You are absolutely correct in there being more to Cliff’s and Erica’s story. Also you will not hear anything being stated to anyone about these people from CAPSLO employees or volunteers as any specifics relating to any individuals would be breaking confidentiality.


I’m not so sure about that statement because in a response to one of the articles Dee Torres did speak out about Cliff Anderson, Detailed information, like when he was in case management and his income. I remember thinking when I read her comment, that she should have never responded to anything involving Mr Anderson, He is no longer a client, but he should still be covered under confidentiality. In my employment we are not even allowed to confirm or deny if someone is or has been in our services, unless that person gives written consent.



You would be correct to think that. This is true the only way that statements made specifically about any individual would be because that person has signed a Media release form. So I would imagine that if what you are saying has happened then that would probably be the reason as to how that is able to be. As for like you and others say I as a volunteer am not privy to all information. Just for the record I don’t claim to be privy to all information either. I am just sharing my knowledge and experience from my volunteering over 15 years.


In the morning I frequently go to the Chevron on the corner of Orcutt and Broad. I’ve noticed that there is a huge stream of homeless from the shelter next door asking for the bathroom key every day. This morning I asked the cashier why so many need to use their bathroom when they have the shelter right next door. She responded that the bathroom facilities are very small so there is not enough time for everyone to use them before they are required to leave by 7:30am.

This is what 60 MILLION dollars gets us? I was already ticked off but this observation has really made me angry. This is asinine. I have no doubt that the people have CAPSLO have convinced themselves that they are running a fine organization. I’m sure Jim told himself the same thing while he ran Gottschalks into the ground. Maybe we can get one of the Levys to share a few comments with the community about how you do things. Don’t pull all the blame on Dee folks, especially now that management has circled the wagons around her. That indicates that there is much much more significant dirt at the top. I do a lot of forensic accounting work and I have seen the same sort of thing occur before in embezzlement and mismanagement cases.


Well one thing wrong with your statement here is believing that the $60M that CAPSLO gets for an annual budget goes strictly to this service. I have already pointed out in a post on this article a few days ago that the Homeless Services division of CAPSLO only gets a little over $2.3M as of their most current audit available online. I have a link on my other post that will take you directly there and on page 30 is where you will see the breakdown.

Now on to the bathroom at the shelter. There is a men’s and a women’s restroom. Both have 2 shower stalls in them the men’s has 3 urinals and 2 toilets and I belive the women’s has 3 toilets, and both have 3 sinks. The homeless have the opportunity to use these facilities from the time the shelter opens til the time it closes its doors. After the shelter closes they have additional facilities available for use at Prado aycenter that also has sinks, toilets, & showers. So I can’t understand why you would hear that the homeless do not get adequate time to be able to use bathroom facilities. This would obviously be the choice that individual is making and not for lack of service.


Here is a re-post of the link to the audit report

Just so this is clear the audit was performed by an independent agency.


So 2.3M is chump change? Is that why you’re continually re-posting this Audit information? I’ve read all of them (months ago) and yes you’re correct about the many different programs supported by the “60M” taxpayer funded nonprofit….Got it.


Oh, I’m certain the homeless person that mkaney spoke about was lying right?

Could there be rules you’re not aware of that restrict the use of the restrooms? You seem to be very knowledgeable NuVo about the inner workings of the shelter. Can you elaborate about any rules the “clients” have when their housed there?


Pardon me..I meant the Chevron employee.

My bad


No I never said that the Employee at Chevron was lying in the statement that was made. The statement that I was making was an explanation of the the facilities that are available to the Homeless almost 24 hours a day. So I do not know why they would be using the Chevron station other than them not wanting to use the daycenter.

I have already explained why I was knowledgeable about the services CAPSLO offers but I guess I can’t repeat that since I have already posted it once.


Maybe they use Chevron because the day center is on Prado Road and the night shelter on Orcutt, that’s a long walk for someone having to use the restroom!



Maybe I misread the intent behind your comment here and I apologize for the prickly response of my last post towards your comment. As for restrictions to use the restrooms I am not aware of any, but my volunteer time does not have me spending the entire night there like the paid staff. The only time I know that there is a restriction of use is when the bathroom is being cleaned as a daily chore and that is a relatively short period of time. I honestly think that what is going on at the Chevron station is more than likely due to poor time management of the “client” as the bathrooms are available at the shelter from 6pm to 7am. Also the families that utilize the overflow have priority and are allowed in early to utilize the showers before anyone else.



Thank you, I also would like to apologize if my writing was off base or implied negativity towards you personally as it is difficult to inflect the emotions properly when writing at times. I mean ZERO disrespect for the information you posted. I was merely focused on the immediate and obvious follow on question and I ran with it.

Thank you for all the volunteer work you have done, I cannot say the same for myself. I have donated many items consistently over the years and this whole mess has me somewhat charged up. I will try to proof my responses so I send out the correct message. 


Post was deleted for some reason so I edited and took some snark out to hopefully appease the moderators. But I do feel that this is valid information to the subject at hand here.

No I do not think $2.3M is chump change. What I do think is this. $62,885,530 is the total revenue that CAPSLO generated that year for all their services. CCN reports a round number of $60M to the readers now making that $2,885,530 less important in order to make a nice round number. WOW look here that number they dropped off in order to make a nice round number to the public is MORE than what is actually used in the budget to Serve the Homeless. Looks to me like the reporting and any other person referring to the $60M is calling this number chump change.

I would like to say Good For you Denny for reading the Audits months ago you may be one of the few that did. Unfortunately there are others that just read the information news articles and posts here for their information and think they are getting the facts that have been blurred.


I agree with you completely, the $2,885,530 is not chump change….it was my bad for using the word in response to your posting.

The money is real and I understand that reporting the correct amount that the homeless services receive annually is a very important piece of the puzzle. The headline should be;

60M nonprofit with a budget of 2.8M for homeless services……you fill in the rest


Thank You, I’m interested.


You are Most Welcome Cindy :-)


Was that audit a forensic audit? Or a typical audit, where the entity being audited provided the books and figures? Do not have faith in a standard audit, for even if done 100% correctly and accurately, it is still based on what was given to them (which can be falsified, or data withheld, etc.).

Ever hear of a “second set of books?” Hmmmm…..


This was not a forensic audit but is referenced as a standard audit. In my opinion it appears to fall someplace between a review and the standards that are met in an audit which really simply confirms that the numbers as stated can be reasonably substantiated. In my opinion, financial internal control (checks & balances) is key when considering the integrity behind an organizations accounting applications and it’s reporting. The lead accountant does state that he considered the organizations internal controls (consideration would be standard in an audit) and he states that he DID NOT offer an opinion on that item.

This sort of an audit would not uncover a misuse of funds unless it was designed to do so. Like wise where internal control is lacking such as with donations and a failure to account for them, all an audit can reveal is that there is no audit trail to follow.

Regardless, I do have a greater understanding of the organization as a whole, thank you for the link to the report NuVo.


An audit is only as accurate–as to the institution’s actual financial status–as the information provided to the auditor by the institution.

Dee Torres has been said, by more than one person, to have used the gift cards meant for the homeless for her own use and for the use of her family.

Do I trust that audit? NO.


According to the above article, I think the statement in the article is very clear,”CAPSLO receives more than $60 million in government funding and support each year to provide services to those in need, including San Luis Obispo’s homeless population.” The word “Including” clearly means it is not the only program. I think we are all aware, or should be by now, that San Luis Obispo CAPSLO Homeless Program gets $2.3 million. I would like to know if that includes the $200 plus thousand that the City of San Luis Obispo gives as well as the money from the County and other government agencies in this County, and the money the clients pay for case management services. IN ADDITION, the local community churches feed the homeless at no cost, the City of SLO donates the property/building at Prado, the community donates gift cards, clothing, personal supplies, etc. Other than salaries, utilities, insurance, office supplies and some limited necessities for the homeless where is a breakdown of the $2.3 million? I have talked with other homeless centers, most recently Santa Barbara, and they are astonished at how we run our program and charge the clients for some services and items.

Can anyone tell me where I can find a copy of their budget on-line, as it is not on their local website? I just want to see the SLO CAPSLO Homeless budget…


The local community churches feed the homeless as a group, known as the People’s Kitchen ( and should be located in another facility other than the Prado Day Center. It should be open limited hours, perhaps from 11:30-1:00. This is how most other soup kitchens operate, for instance, the late People’s Kitchen in Grover Beach. A good, home-cooked meal is then accessible by anyone, and there is no fear in being served ridiculous suspensions. Hungry people would come simply to eat and then leave. The Prado Day Center is an institution. Plain and simple.


CAPSLO’s proposed 200-bed homeless services center would be an extension of such an institution.



The unfortunate truth to the matter is that it is not clear for everyone. You may have understood this fact and may have also read the audit that was posted online, but you are not everyone. I have been listening to the congelton show and on at least 2 different broadcasts there where callers that made statements about the $60M figure used. They did say on the show that this is the total annual budget that CAPSLO has but they never mention the actual figure that is in the Homeless Services budget. So my post is intended to bring the actual budget to light.


7:30 am and out the door, obviously prado is more than a few miles away, long way to “hold it” . Why is the “sleep” shelter so far from the Day shelter?


Just a guess, but I would think it would be to support Dee Torres mythical “homeless crisis” she pimps whenever she wants more funds for…whatever.

We may as well get used to it. As long as Adam Hill is on the BOS ,and as long as Bruce Gibson supports everything Hill does, and as long as Adam Hill is still sleeping with Dee Torres, we will be stuck with Dee Torres as head of homeless services, no matter how incompetent she is for such a position.

Unless she goes to prison, that is. In that case, maybe Hill will go with her, then we could get rid of two birds with one stone.



Maybe you should just refrain from posting if you don’t have a real answer.


1989 the night shelter was made as a temporary shelter (with 7 used modules from camp roberts)until a real one could b built. There was never enough money or room for expansion. 1997 the day center was built. The whole purpose of the new homeless services center was to place the night shelter and day center under one roof


NuVo, I applaud your persistence.



Interesting information you have here on the grand jury report. Is this somewhere on the net that you can post a link? I would like to read more on this. If not on the internet where did you source this information so I can read more on it.

Niles Q

See: for the grand jury report on homeless services 2009-10.

So if Torres kicks someone out on a cold, rainy and miserable night and they die of exposure, could she and CAPSLO be held liable? If they were kicked out due to tossing a butt on the ground or for walking in through the wrong gate 5 minutes early, could it be criminally negligent homicide? How about manslaughter if she did it for personal reasons or out of spite?

I’d be willing to bet that’s happened but with the person being homeless and all, I doubt 100% that the police would ever bother to investigate beyond looking for a next of kin.


Thank you Niles for the post of the link. :-)

It is truly a shame that in my above request that I am getting dislikes for making an honest request for information. :’-(


There use to be places in cities called “rooming houses” or “boarding houses”. They were places with cheap rates where people could get 4 walls, a bed, and use of a bathroom for a night, or a week, or long-term if they wanted. I wonder how different our streets would look if we had a couple of places like this. Why does finding 4 walls and a roof have to be so damn competitive?


The codes are to protect you from bad people. The government is good, and you are a bad person for even asking these questions. We cannot make exceptions because then people will start thinking they are free and have rights. That makes it real difficult for us to do things, like that little disappearing trick we do with part of your salary every month before you even get it. We’re only here to help you.


So I’m sure you’d like to take the registered sex offender laws off the books?


Actually, the purpose of some codes is to exclude poor people from our elite communities. Now that all communities strive to be elite, there is no place that poor people can live.


I have a question. In today’s society alcoholism and drug addiction are treated as illnesses and disabilities. If this is so, how can they be prevented from using the facility without breaking the Americans with Disabilities Act? I’m just curious how the shelter gets around that even though I think it’s the right thing to do.


Because codes and laws, such as the ADA, are not meant for government facilities. Just subscribe to any of the building codes, and you’ll see that many “updates” are simply to exempt government building from the very codes they require everyone else to abide by (usually when someone tries to sue one of them).


I’m not talking about a building code. I’m talking about Federal Government mandated access. Under the ADA,all rules would apply because CAPSLO is not a government organization. There is something very wrong here.


Don’t believe everything that is said, a pretty picture is being painted, however , I have spoken to the homeless myself who have a very different story, One guy said he was given items on credit from Prado, but you get cut off once you owe 2.00. They keep a list of who owes what and he couldnt get anything because he had no money to pay. This included his girlfriends tampons and sanitary pads! She couldn’t go get them because she was suspended for what she was wearing because all her clothes were dirty and she tried to argue her point so she was put out. ( if course, this couple will prob. be tagged as liars! ) Sure doesn’t sound like the same place does it?


It’s ended up in the wrong spot, this post was in response to the rose colored picture regarding how wonderful people are treated and how they are freely given so many donation! Not sure how it ended up way down here!


I know two women who told me they were recently approached by homeless men in the Von’s parking lot. They came up right behind them and said they needed money. The women were scared to death. The men swore at them and got right in their faces and wouldn’t leave until they gave them a few dollars. I have seen the same thing in Meadow Park. We have a problem with the homeless in this cty that’s much bigger than all this stuff about Dee Torres.

Reality Check

The threatening tactics described are illegal. Police can and should monitor and arrest for that kind of aggression. Nobody should be put into the situation GaazxyTraveler describes. The passive sitting, or standing (loittering) is what I thought people were sympathetic to because of CAPSLO kicking people out of the Day Center / shelter for minor infractions of rules.

This whole situation is more complicated than any one aspect. CAPSLO has made a bad situation worse with their draconian rules and demands for homeless to give CAPSLO hugh % of their meager income.


Yeah, there was an incident in Long Beach where a Homeless man asked for money, and when he didn’t get any, he set fire to the man and his vehicle! Nasty stuff out there.


I agree that illegal activity, as described, should not be tolerated.

However, it is the ridiculously petty gotcha rules and the draconian suspension of services for 30 days ( or more) for something as minor as discarding a cigarette butt on the ground, which is ensuring that there are, indeed, MORE homeless people on the street.



Whether or not you agree with their criteria, CAPSLO’s rationing of services does not cause more homeless people to be on the streets, it just ensures that those who follow the rules receive services instead of those who don’t. CAPSO can only serve less than 10% of those who are homeless each day. Would you prefer to give first priorty to those who are drunk, high, hostile, disruptive and highly obnoxious?


Yes! Let’s not forget, the big probem isn’t CAPLSO it’s the growing number of belligerent, drunk, drugged-out people invadng our city. If they can’t follow a few simple rules for getting FREE food and services, then they can move somewher else.


Wrong, It is CAPSLO they get the money to manage the homeless for SLO city and county.

This money was taken from other programs over the years.

Perhaps they can ask for a grant to manage people who don’t have good timekeeping to meet a 15min window. Try it with no phone or watch to cross the zone at only the right time.


When I stayed at the shelter people who were drunk and high were regularly given better treatment than those who were not…the things reported in this article are the petty things Dee uses to make sure anyone who is on to her tactics can be shown as a trouble maker and removed…I am currently not in the US but I have been following these articles and encouraging others to speak up…I hope the people of SLO stop allowing this to go on…I mean seriously tear this down…keep going to all of you that are working to reveal this!


It would be great if you would post about your personal experience while at the shelter. We’re you given the items you needed? Did you receive any gift cards or food cards? How were you treated? I would really like to hear your story. I believe the shelter and Prado residents are the ones who really know what’s going on and what has gone on. Would you recommend the homeless services and the night shelter to someone you met on the street? Did you receive case management? Did you receive any help?


BS. When our homeless are suspended from services–for which their SS funds pay–for months at a time, those people will end up on the streets.

I don’t believe that CAPSLO can only afford to service 10%, each day, of the homeless population. If that is what CAPSLO is claiming–and I don’t believe much of what CAPSLO claims–they need to cut salaries and benefits, and stop the pilfering of donated goods, as a start.


And how do you know someone is prevented from getting services for discarding a cigarette butt on the ground? Because you read it here?


And how do you know it did not happen? Because you did not see it it never happened?

We look forward to your reporting on this at what web site?


Here’s the thing: This is what journalism is supposed to be about. Revealing wrongdoing when no one sees it happening. A noble pursuit. But to do that, you need a complete and accurate story. So-and-so alleges X did this. X, so-and-so alleges this. Is that true? No, then why would so-and-so make such a statement. Was it a misunderstanding? Is there something else going on. Or, $60 million spent on homeless services. Oh, it’s not $60 million? It’s $2 million? Yes, $2 million is a lot of money, but $58 million less than $60 million. Oh, the audit says xyz? Well, we can’t believe that audit. Why? Because the organization that we’ve made up our mind is evil is behind the audit. This is how witch hunts begin.


Ahh thats your problem this thing with capslo has just began but you want to skip to the last chapter, not yet homer.

Also you want to focus on a figure and ignore the bigger picture.

So sit back and let someone do there job, the fact that you don’t like how it’s done is a personal issue, your issue.

You only represent you, a anonymous name on the net. You do not speak for anyone else ever, especially not about what today’s journalism represents.

Your desire to repeatedly “share” your doubt is a form of trolling, comment trolling has many forms.


Apparently my earlier comment had a tad too much snark in it for the moderator, so let me be more delicate. I am not quite sure what you are trying to say, but I certainly don’t speak for anyone else. On that point, you are correct. I would hope you are seeking some form of truth. Truth might, in fact, not be what you initially thought. Perhaps these allegations will be borne out. As I’ve repeatedly said, I have no idea. But I certainly don’t feel like the reporting here has brought us any closer to the truth.


Also there is a great post that was made by slohomelessadvocate about 22 hours before this post that goes into great detail on the rule violation proceedure and the steps it takes to get to a 30 day suspension. Obviously in order to get to a 30 day suspension the person would of had to make at the very least 4 other violations to the rules prior to this in order to be given 30 days out. Also all of the people that stay with them are made fully aware of the rules and they sign on a sheet stating that they understand the rules of this community living environment.

Oh and by the way do we as non-homeless have to live by similar rules that are called laws that even though we may not be aware of a certain law we are still expected to abide by them. Ignorance for a law is not am excuse for not following one. Littering in most areas is punishable by a $1000 fine.


Failed comparison. Those of us who are not homeless “clients” of CAPSLO can walk on any public street, sidewalk and space we wish. Dee Torres’ asinine rule about CAPSLO clients’ walking, standing, sitting and otherwise using public spaces is of her own making. She does not have the right to do so.

In addition, people with disabilities are NOT allowed to be discriminated against—except, apparently, by Dee Torres, who can throw a woman out of the facility for 30 days at a time because her Huntington’s disease causes uncontrolled movements of her arms.


Please, at some point will you tell us how you know all these facts?


She listened to the person who was thrown out for her Huntington’s disease? She listened to the multitude of former employees who verified this? I’m just guessing, but that is what *I* did to know all those facts.

You’re welcome.


In other words, she read them here. And I suppose you believe everything you read.


Mr. Homer, I fail to see how your “snarky” comments are helping anything. If you have contrary facts, figures, testimony, then report them.


Homer, do you really believe so many people would make up stories about services very few of us use? Why? What could they gain? The final outcome will benefit the homeless and no one else. I don’t get your very strong and obvious connection to CAPSLO, why do you object to people wanting to see improvement and change? There are so many posts on all these stories and bottom line, WE CARE! You act as if Cal. Coast News has something to gain from what they report. Open your eyes, there is something smoldering out there!


This is a reply to karma2come: I’ll try to address your points individually: Why would “so many people” make up these allegations? Ask yourself, how many people come into contact w/homeless services during the years involved? You might ask, if this was going on, why haven’t more people had complaints? As to my obvious connection to CAPSLO: This statement reflects the overall mindset on this site — if you question the accuracy or professionalism of the reporting, you must have some connection to the target of the allegations. Sorry. Not true. No connection. Zero. As I’ve repeatedly said, I don’t have a clue about these allegations. I’m not a volunteer. I’m not homeless. I don’t know Dee Torres. Why is it so difficult to understand that someone who is interested in this story would be critical of the reporting? Folks, try to exit the bandwagon and think for yourselves.


Homer please focus a bit more on the story and a bit less focus on the reporting and editing of the website organization. We invite commentary for our stories and while we do care about what you think we are not inviting lecturers in journalism to hone their craft on the readers and users of CCN, think of it as a courtesy to readers who can read and make up their own minds just like you. I have deleted a few comments.

if you have!!! or ??? .

thanks so much


Moderator: “Homer please focus a bit more on the story and a bit less focus on the reporting…” I tried asking what the difference was, but post got deleted. There is no story w/out the reporting. Criticizing the reporting of a story is focusing on the story.


I guess Homer, the majority of us are here to discuss allegations of wrong doing, if we werent thinking for ourselves, we wouldnt be asking questions or doing our own research. In case you havent read, there are complaints that have been said to have been reported since thhe time of Ms Torres taking charge, thats what this is about, not about the cenxeprion of homeless services. There is an editor to critique the writing. I must say for someone with no connection or opinion of the content in the articles, you are very passionate with your posts.


Actually Karma, I think the majority of people are here to speculate about allegations based only on what is reported here. When people w/actual information contradict that speculation, they are belittled. When I question why reporters don’t pursue responses from the target of the speculation, those posts are deleted. Oh, and then there are the Mary Malones of the thread who seem to get their kicks from making childish comments — which somehow aren’t deleted.


Well if capslo can’t,won’t or doesn’t want to help the homeless what do you want to do with them.

House them in the county jail for what, 24 hrs, I’m still in favor of either Duval’s idea, but that only worked for the ones that wanted it, my idea of Camp Cuesta is by far better,pock them up,off the streets,out of the creek, and get them someplace they don’t want to be, if they don’t want medical attention,help or what ever they can go back to the town they came from, but they will not roam our streets again.

Now let me ask a question, just what good are any of these homeless shelters, all they are good for is maybe a night out of the weather,some food and thats it, then these people are turned loose to panhandle our towns and get in peoples face,my wife and I had a stroll through SLO today and she remarked there are a lot of drifters/transits around here this is starting to not feel safe, and I’m not talking about the poly kids.


Sir, What you are proposing is a concentration camp. The only way to put people in a concentration camp in America is to suspend their civil liberties and right to due process.


Well I BET if homeless guys weren’t kicked off the property of Prado “Day” center during the day, there would be a lot less harassment out there.


Really? 3 disagreed about my comment to protect the kids? Do tell why, you must not be parents. I am just amazed/disappointed you would be ok with causing the kids more harm.??


It appears to me that people are simply recognizing that there are children involved here. Yes one person did say the kids are acting out (bratty) in public but that was the extent of it. What I see is that people are concerned about her behavior where she has introduced so many men into her unstable household and the effect that this sort of behavior by a parent has on children in general.

I have not seen any one of her children mentioned by name or singled out but people are talking about the family unit and the psychological damage that has been perpetuated on the unit by the mother. If she is that inept with her own family one can not expect any less than a self serving mentality surrounding the homeless who she oversees. She obviously has a problem where choosing the right partners and staying with them is concerned. This is very damaging on children particularly where all fathers are different and the door continues to revolve. She still owns a house with her most recent boyfriend (not a baby daddy) who she is in a dispute with and she is already on to the next and ready to tie the knot. Marriage or no marriage it never lasts. Of course people are concerned for those children.


I agree that Dee’s children should be kept out of it. It makes me sick that her wonderful children have to hear about this. But what makes me laugh is the person who writes about her children being spotted running through the grocery store. Do your homework. Dee’s ‘kids’ are of college age, or close. They aren’t ‘kids’ and they aren’t running around the store. It sounds like the poster had a transference issue with Dee. Maybe she suggested parenting classes? Whatever it is, Dee doesn’t have little kids, and they weren’t running around the store, and they are definitely old enough to be reading this, which I am sure hurts when you accuse their mother of theft or worst yet, say their father accuses them. Lay off. It is cruel.