Disabled homeless man denied bed by CAPSLO

June 28, 2013
Jeffrey Stone and service dog Boomer

Jeffrey Stone and service dog Boomer

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

The Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo denied a disabled homeless man a bed at its shelter last week because he was accompanied by a service dog.

Even though California law requires service providers to allow equal access to individuals with guide dogs, San Luis Obispo native Jeffrey Stone needed police intervention in order to obtain a bed at the Maxine Lewis Memorial Homeless Shelter.

Stone, who recently returned to San Luis Obispo from Arizona to feel more at home, first attempted to secure a bed at the shelter approximately two weeks ago.

But, shelter manager Della Wagner denied him a bed and demanded that he leave the property, saying that CAPSLO policy does not allow for service dogs in the shelter.

Stone returned soon after, and requested to eat dinner at the shelter. Wagner allowed him to eat, but not to stay the night, and demanded to see proof that Stone’s dog indeed had service status.

California law prohibits service providers from demanding verification of a dog’s service status. Stone still provided Wagner a letter he received from a clinical therapist stating his need for the dog.

Wagner then allowed Stone to eat, but not sleep, at the Maxine Lewis Shelter for the following few nights.

On June 17, Stone again requested a bed and again was denied. This time Stone contacted the San Luis Obispo Police Department, and three officers responded to the shelter.

After meeting Stone, the officers told him it was time to “reeducate” the shelter staff. The officers then discussed the matter with the CAPSLO staff, and Stone received a bed.

“They treated me like a decent human being, and it blew me away,” Stone said. “All three of those guys were absolutely wonderful.”

Wagner told CalCoastNews that she made the decision to deny Stone the bed, but that she could not comment on the matter without approval of CAPSLO’s Homeless Services Director.

Homeless Services Director Dee Torres said she could not comment on the matter because it involved confidential client information and she had not seen the police log.

Torres did say, though, that CAPSLO’s service animal policy states that guide dogs must behave properly and “be harnessed, leashed, or be under voice, signal or other control.” She did not indicate whether or not CAPSLO policy prohibits service dogs from spending the night at the shelter.

Since the police intervention, Stone has stayed at the shelter. However, he faces an ultimatum.

CAPSLO has told him, like other clients, that he must enter case management and turn over approximately 70 percent of his income in order to secure a bed in the shelter beyond his first month of staying there. If Stone does not do so, he must enter a daily lottery for a chance to stay the night.

Stone said that if he chooses to enter case management, he has the options of paying CAPSLO in money orders or cashier’s checks or arranging a direct deposit of his money into the nonprofit Family Ties.

Family Ties is currently under federal investigation for keeping more of a former CAPSLO client’s money that allowed by the Social Security Administration.

Stone receives about $970 each month in Social Security Disability Income, for which he qualified because he worked long enough in the past and paid Social Security taxes.

Agreeing to enter case management would leave Stone approximately $300 to live on each month. Likewise, there is no guarantee CAPSLO will get him into housing. Often clients have remained on case management for multiple years without attaining permanent housing.

Stone previously worked as a general manager for truck stop restaurant chains. Doctors have diagnosed him with scoliosis, as well as several psychological disorders.

Prior to moving back to San Luis Obispo from Arizona, Stone had arranged to rent a room. However, the agreement fell through upon arrival, and he ended up homeless. Stone travels everywhere with his service dog Boomer.

 


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49 Comments

  1. 1950SLONative says:

    Some people…. Wasting good space to make some nonsensical purely prejudicial comment or some obscure point, neither of which relates to the article, just reminds me of how far backwards this community has gone. Living here all of my 60+ years I have seen this community go through many changes but in the last 10 or so I’ve seen a change that sickens my heart. From an empathetic and progressive community, one that genuinely cared about it’s neighbor, it seems to me we have become one that cannot see past it’s own nose. We use to rally around people like Mr. Stone, not giving them a hand out but rather offering a hand up so they could get on with their life. Now it seems we would rather judge him, ignore him and leave him to the almost certain non-care of CAPSLO. Shame on us.

    (1) 23 Total Votes - 12 up - 11 down
  2. freshair says:

    This takes the cake.

    CAPSLO clearly demonstrates it’s incompetence to manage the homeless.

    Now we know that even the San Luis Police Department frowns on CAPSLO!

    Thank God they were called. So many more victims are roaming the streets and living under bridges all because of CAPSLO.

    Nice work, Josh! Nice work, Cal Coast News!

    (4) 28 Total Votes - 16 up - 12 down
  3. R.Hodin says:

    “Stone previously worked as a general manager for truck stop restaurant chains. Doctors have diagnosed him with scoliosis, as well as several psychological disorders.”

    Isn’t this exactly the sort of confidential personal information which CAPSLO is prohibited from releasing, yet CCN feels justified in blabbing it all over creation? Please, a little respect here is in order. We all may one day face circumstances not unlike Mr. Stone’s.

    (8) 44 Total Votes - 26 up - 18 down
    • Karen Velie says:

      Hodin, the information was given by Stone for publication. People can give information about themselves to be publicized that doctors and service groups cannot disclose without their permission. Mr. Stone has the right to explain why he has a service dog.

      (18) 34 Total Votes - 26 up - 8 down
    • kettle says:

      R.Hodin says:”Please, a little respect here is in order.”

      Irony and exaggeration much?

      (3) 17 Total Votes - 10 up - 7 down
  4. obispan says:

    The alleged involvement of SLOPD puzzles me. While the idea of police running Khmer Rouge-style camps to “reeducate” social workers excites me I doubt that it’s true.

    (-4) 26 Total Votes - 11 up - 15 down
  5. givemeabreak says:

    http://slo.craigslist.org/apa/3905146768.html

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  6. givemeabreak says:

    http://slo.craigslist.org/roo/3903586309.html

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  7. givemeabreak says:

    Mr. Stone…..how can one get a hold of you? I am looking for a place for both you and Boomer.

    (8) 22 Total Votes - 15 up - 7 down
  8. givemeabreak says:

    Surprise….Surprise….CAPSLO screwing another homeless person while they are down. CAPSLO….you and your leaders truly SUCK.

    (15) 41 Total Votes - 28 up - 13 down
  9. unlisted says:

    The critical question to me is whether Jeff’s dog is a service dog, which was trained to provide specific services that he needs, or an emotional support dog, essentially his living blankie. CAPSLO must provide reasonable accommodations for a legitimate service dog, but not a living blankie.

    From what I’ve read, Jeff got an accommodation he didn’t deserve and now he’complaining because he wants more special treatment! If Boomer is truly a service dog, why didn’t Jeff and Josh clearly establish his eligibility (ie, his training and the service he provides).

    In closing, I wish Jeff a good trip back to Arizona or wherever he worked as a general manager for truck stop restaurant chains those long years to earn his Social Security. It clearly wasn’t in SLO.

    (-22) 66 Total Votes - 22 up - 44 down
    • jrstone says:

      The answer to your “critical question” is yes, Boomer is a service animal and not the “blankie” you refer to him as.
      I did not want “special treatment”. Wanting something and needing something are two distinctly different things, and right now I am in need of the services that CAPSLO is intrusted to provide. Those services are “special” and to imply that I want something beyond them reeks of ignorance.
      I was born in this county in 1956, left in1960 after being adopted and was raised in So. California. I have returned to live and work here on three different occasions but relationships and work directed me elsewhere. I am here now because this is my home; where my heart has always been and where I hope to find the balance I once had in life before becoming disabled. I love San Luis Obispo and have no intention of letting anything, or anyone, direct me elsewhere again.
      If and when the time calls for it the question of Boomer’s “eligibility” will be answered.
      In closing; I just hope that if you ever find yourself in a similar position as I am in right now that you have the unquestionable love, support and service from a “living blankie” like my Boomer. I could not have come as far as I have without him. Take Care unlisted.

      (45) 75 Total Votes - 60 up - 15 down
    • LAH says:

      Come on Adam, just because he wanted shelter with a service dog does not make him Wanting “Special” services. Tell your girlfriend to train her staff so they understand Policy!

      (18) 32 Total Votes - 25 up - 7 down
      • unlisted says:

        I’m not Adam. And, I’m also not the only one who questions whether Boomer is really a “service dog” or whether we, as a community, should be obligated to support every indigent person who wants to live in SLO.

        At some point, I wouldn’t be surprised if CAPSLO said “F it all” with these homeless programs. Hardly anyone on this site appreciates what they do, or even what they try to do. Perhaps CAPSLO should stick with Head Start, energy assistance, senior health and other programs that people actually appreciate. Homeless programs only bring in about 5% of CAPSLO’s revenues and probably cause 90% of their grief.

        (-6) 28 Total Votes - 11 up - 17 down
        • kettle says:

          unlisted says:”Hardly anyone on this site appreciates what they do, or even what they try to do.”

          Based on what survey that never happened? and also calling (at 7pm) mr Stone a liar, that must be small town charm.

          “not the only one who questions” care to share that e-mail?

          (-4) 12 Total Votes - 4 up - 8 down
          • unlisted says:

            Is the kettle calling the pot black?

            (-8) 20 Total Votes - 6 up - 14 down
        • Reality Check says:

          Unlisted says “At some point, I wouldn’t be surprised if CAPSLO said “F it all” with these homeless programs”

          I long for the day when CAPSLO does stop running these important programs and lets sincere, compassionate and humane people with the ability to administer programs fairly take over.

          CAPSLO is a bureaucratic mess and the fact that they continue to extort from homeless 70% of their meager funds from disability or SSI is outrageous.

          (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down

Comments are closed.