Bed bugs invade SLO homeless shelter
July 10, 2013
Bed bugs have moved into the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo’s (CAPSLO) Maxine Lewis Memorial Homeless Shelter, causing staff to temporarily shut down the facility.
On Monday evening, some homeless people seeking a bed for the night were told to sleep outside at the Prado Day Center or find another place to sleep. The shelter will remain closed until Friday evening, according to a sign on the front door.
The sign did not provide a reason for the closure, but numerous sources confirmed that bed bugs caused the shelter to shut down.
Many of the clients spent Monday night sleeping outside in sleeping bags at the day center, sources told CalCoastNews.
The sign on the shelter door states that CAPSLO will allow clients who have priority, as well as those who have spent fewer than 30 days in the shelter, to stay overnight at the Prado Day Center during the closure. Those without priority will have to fend for themselves.
CAPSLO requires homeless people to hand over 50 to 70 percent of their income to CAPSLO or another nonprofit Family Ties in order to have priority. CAPSLO officials contend homeless individuals need to have their income managed.
This requirement has led investigators with the Office of the Inspector General to launch an investigation into Family Ties keeping more of several CAPSLO clients’ money than is legally allowed.
Clients who refuse to hand over their income after their first 30 days in the shelter must enter a lottery each night in order to secure a bed. During the shutdown, there are no beds available through the lottery, a sign on the door says.
CAPSLO staff refused to say if they provided those seeking shelter transportation to the Prado Day Center and told reporters they are not permitted on the grounds.
Prado Day Center manager Shawn Ison and Maxine Lewis Shelter manager Della Wagner said the only person permitted to answer questions about the shutdown is Homeless Services Director Dee Torres. Torres, however, failed to respond to questions.
Since bed bugs first invaded California about four years ago, their population has exploded. Bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed on blood.
One pregnant bed bug can produce 7,800 adults, 121,000 babies and 69,000 eggs in just six months.