Hill promotes wife during homeless debate
February 1, 2016
As community leaders decide how to best handle the recently displaced homeless population in Grover Beach, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill is promoting his wife’s homeless nonprofit while denigrating other competing homeless services providers.
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to address the Grover Beach situation at the Tuesday board meeting, deciding whether to provide additional funding to provide shelter and warming centers for homeless this winter.
Janna Nichols, executive director of the Five Cities Homeless Coalition, appeared last Thursday on KVEC radio to speak with host Dave Congalton about long term solutions for the homeless in South County.
Meanwhile, Hill’s wife, Dee Torres-Hill, has recently stepped into the Grover Beach effort with nonprofit, SLO Housing Connection. Torres-Hill has been giving vouchers to homeless people for short term shelter.
Several local housing activists, who declined to be named for this story, expressed concern that Supervisor Hill faces a conflict of interest if he champions county funding for his wife’s program.
Hill also fired off a mass email last week, taking a swipe at Nichols for her appearance on the Congalton broadcast. Hill sent the email to former county supervisor Jim Patterson, thanking him for donating to the Torres-Hill nonprofit:
“Good work, Jim. Dee is busting her butt to help these people who are disabled, ill, and have ben [sic] living in terrible squalor,” Hill’s email says. “I hope more of you will help, including some hands-on help, and some discussions about what’s next. This coming Tuesday there will be a discussion of the crisis before the BOS and I hope to hear from some of the service providers so we can know what’s being done, what should be done, what can be done, and what resources are still needed. I sure hope the Five Cities Homeless Coalition will do more than appear on a toxic AM radio show. Really. We need do-ers!”
If the county declares a shelter crisis, funds for homeless nonprofits working with the homeless could be made available. Five local organizations operate warming centers and shelters, 5 Cities Homeless Coalition, CAPSLO, Paso Cares, Atascadero First Assembly Church and Atascadero Bible Church.
It is uncertain what Torres-Hill can bring to the Grover Beach situation. Torres-Hill, formerly with CAPSLO, started the SLO Housing Connection, a nonprofit that provides homeless services that appear to duplicate many CAPSLO services, including case management, shelter and employment services.
In the spring of 2015, the entire SLO Housing Connection Board quit, allegedly because Torres-Hill refused to take direction and was not following the non-profit’s mission statement, a former board member who has asked to remain unnamed said.
Nevertheless, Torres-Hill has continued seeking funding and donations for her nonprofit. It is suspected she will attend the board of supervisors meeting on Tuesday seeking a piece of the homeless nonprofit funding pie.
Asked to comment on Hill’s email, Congalton said “The record of the Five Cities Homeless Coalition speaks for itself. Sadly, so does the record of Supervisor Hill.”