SLO County declares homeless crisis
February 3, 2016
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to declare a homeless shelter crisis. The declaration allows officials to open up county buildings at night so the homeless can stay warm.
The board also authorized spending a total of $10,000 on addressing the problem. Local homeless services providers can apply for the funds.
Additionally, the board urged city councils in SLO County to follow its lead by also declaring a shelter crisis and allocating $10,000 toward warming centers.
Despite there being a crisis declaration, local warming centers are not currently at capacity. There are 112 beds at warming centers in the county, and no more than 68 have been full on any night this year.
The warming centers are not full due in part to staffing shortages. Also, some homeless individuals choose not to go them because they cannot bring their pets and all of their belongings, county officials said.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Supervisor Adam Hill asked if county funds could be used to place the homeless at campgrounds. Hill noted that some homeless people need places to put their pets and possessions.
County administrator Dan Buckshi said the shelter crisis designation refers only to county buildings and not campgrounds.
Some critics of Hill allege the supervisor created a conflict of interest by raising the issue of campgrounds. Hill’s wife, Dee Torres-Hill, runs a nonprofit that is currently trying to place homeless individuals in campgrounds.
The county’s shelter crisis will sunset on April 15.