SLO County Grand Jury reveals nonprofit’s failures

June 26, 2023

Residents protesting of SLO County safe parking site


A San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury report calls out a local government agency and a nonprofit for failing to accomplish tasks they were paid to perform at the county’s safe parking site on Oklahoma Avenue and for refusing to hand over records.

In the summer of 2021, the county opened a safe parking site near the sheriff’s department to address the increasing number of homeless sleeping in their vehicles. A portion of the $45,000 a month the county allotted for the site was paid to Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO) for case management, while the SLO County Department of Social Services was paid for oversight.

During its investigation, the grand jury requested copies of all quarterly reports CAPSLO and social services personnel were contracted to create, but both agencies refused to comply. Even so, the grand jury determined CAPSLO and social services did not meet the goals outlined in their contracts.

Multiple members of the safe parking community contend CAPSLO’s failures have hampered their ability to move into housing. For example, CAPSLO was paid to help residents register their vehicles, a contracted service CAPSLO allegedly failed to perform.

The grand jury found that those managing the site were unsuccessful at helping the majority of its participant households successfully transition to permanent housing. With a transition rate of 14%, the county safe parking site falls well below the median rehousing rate of 40% found in a 2021 nationwide study of 43 safe parking programs, according to the grand jury report.

In Nov. 2022, more than 40 of the approximately 70 people living at the safe parking site joined the California Homeless Union because they thought that the county and CAPSLO were not abiding by their contractual agreements.

Several members of the homeless community accuse CAPSLO of charging them for case management while failing to help them secure housing.

In Jan. 2023, the county did not formally renew CAPSLO’s contract. Even so, the nonprofit continues to be involved with case management at the site.

In Feb. 2023, the county announced plans to close the site before the end of the year and to no longer allow new people to stay at the site. The goal is to move people into long-term housing with the help of local homeless services providers, including CAPSLO.

During the approximately two years the safe parking site was operational, emergency personnel responded to calls for assistance 493 times, according to the grand jury report. Those calls include three deaths, 43 medical, 42 disturbing the peace, seven spousal abuse or battery, five threats, 13 burglary or theft and 50 for mental health issues.

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I think it’s interesting that the two groups refused to comply with the Grand Jury. How does that work? I was under the impression the Grand Jury had the ability to subpoena. If that’s the case, why didn’t they just subpoena it? If they can’t subpoena, how about a PRA request? After reading this, I can’t help but think about the Grand Jury report related to cannabis in SB County. Doesn’t seem like much happened after that report.

the services CAPSLO provides are extremely weak and yet they have an annual budget (mostly our money) of over 80 million dollars. Talk about serious graft and corruption opportunities

CAPSLO has had more than its share of scandal and ineffectiveness. This non-profit needs an overhaul from the top down.

First of all $45,000 is not much for the real need after everyone takes their cut and how can anyone be surprised about any government funded program actually spending the money on the right things