SLO council plans slight increase in CAPSLO funding
April 10, 2013
San Luis Obispo’s city council plans to slightly increase its funding to Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO) for the upcoming fiscal year, despite recent reports of the nonprofit mismanaging accounts and donations belonging to the homeless.
At a two-year budgeting meeting Tuesday, the council tentatively approved $240,688 in funding for CAPSLO’s Homeless Services program in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The proposed funding is a $1,750 increase from the current fiscal year.
The council did not address allegations of mistreatment of the homeless raised by former CAPSLO employees and others in a CalCoastNews series of articles entitled “Keeping Them Homeless.” Tuesday’s budget hearing marked the second time since the beginning of the series that the council approved funding for CAPSLO.
On Feb. 5, the day after CalCoastNews published the initial article in the series, council members Dan Carpenter and John Ashbaugh and Mayor Jan Marx defended CAPSLO prior to approving $224,688 in grants and general fund money for the nonprofit. Since the Feb. 5 meeting, Carpenter, Ashbaugh and Marx have continued to question the credibility of CalCoastNews’ reporting.
Earlier this year, the council chose to make addressing homelessness its most important city goal for the 2013-2015 budget cycle. The majority of the money the council plans on spending on homeless related programs over the next two years is slated to go to CAPSLO. The nonprofit is expected to receive the same amount of funding in the 2014-2015 fiscal year as in 2013-2014, with the exception of a projected 10 percent reduction in United States Department of Housing and Urban Development grant funds for the Maxine Lewis homeless shelter.
In addition to the $240,688 currently slated to go to CAPSLO in the upcoming fiscal year, the nonprofit will most likely receive around $10,000 in funding for its case management program from the city Grants-In-Aid Program. As with the HUD funding, the council must approve the Grants-In-Aid money after the budget is adopted. The council expects to adopt the budget on June 17.
Of the funding tentatively approved for CAPSLO, $121,988 will go toward the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter and $53,000 will go toward the Prado Day Center. The council is also planning to continue its financial support of CAPSLO’s proposed 200-bed homeless services center, despite gridlock over a suitable location. It has budgeted $50,000 for the design of the center for each of the next two fiscal years.
The council likewise intends to continue funding CAPSLO’s Safe Parking Program, which allows five homeless individuals to park and sleep in their vehicles at night at the Prado Day Center. Funding for the parking program is expected to increase from $8,750 to $10,000.
CAPSLO Chief Operating Officer Jim Famalette spoke briefly during public comment. Famalette thanked the council for the funding and said he agreed with the prioritization of the city’s homeless problem.
Ashbaugh, who sits on the CAPSLO Board of Directors, said he was pleased with the level of funding proposed for CAPSLO.
“I like the direction that is being put forward by staff to reinforce the homeless services program,” Ashbaugh said.
Councilwoman Kathy Smith said the council needed to “make a strong statement” on the homeless issue and suggested budgeting extra money for CAPSLO’s proposed services center.
“It would seem to me to be appropriate as a one-time investment to set some [capital improvement project] dollars aside to invest in the homeless services center,” Smith said. “Whether it is 500,000 or a million, I think we need to set some money aside.”