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New Paso Robles homeless shelter exceeds goals in first four months 

ECHO Paso Robles Storefront

–After only four months, El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) Paso Robles has exceeded its opening goals at the new facility located in the former Motel 6 at 1134 Black Oak Drive in Paso Robles. More than 274 people, including 27 children, utilized the overnight shelter and ECHO services in the first four months. Through ECHO’s unique partnership with the Housing Authority of SLO (HASLO) and People’s Self-Help Housing, 10 individuals, who have been experiencing homelessness from the Paso Robles community, have already found permanent housing. ECHO’s original goal when opening was to place that number of people in some type of stable housing situation within six months.

“We are so pleased with the early results of our new facility in Paso Robles,” said Wendy Lewis, President & CEO of ECHO. It had been part of our long-term strategic plan to expand into Paso Robles, but because of the Project Homekey opportunity, this amazing opportunity that was offered to us allowed us to bring this transformation now. Project Homekey provided for the purchase and renovation of the Paso Robles Motel 6 property into a 60-bed homeless services center and shelter, along with 60 units for affordable housing, which is managed by HASLO.

Since opening officially on Dec. 7, ECHO has hired a staff of eleven people including a shelter manager, a volunteer manager, overnight staff, and case managers, including a full-time street and outreach case manager to work with people living in the riverbed and on the street. The dinner program that had been offered for years across from the Fairgrounds, is now offered seven nights a week on the new property. Groups like Girl Scouts, Paso Robles Rotary, and United Methodist Church, along with restaurants like Kitchenette, Il Cortile, and La Cosecha, have been generously providing meals on a regular basis to an average of 60 people a night.

Service providers such as THMA, healthcare providers, job training and placement agencies, and other partner offer services directly to clients on the site regularly.

Project Homekey is a program of the State of California administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for the purpose of protecting Californians experiencing homelessness who are at high risk for serious illness and are impacted by COVID-19. The Paso Robles Motel 6 Conversion is a collaborative Project Homekey between Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Corporation and ECHO.

“Individuals and families who have been experiencing homelessness in Paso Robles are receiving the care and support they need to get back on their feet and move toward sustainable housing,” says Lewis. “Several of the people who are now housed, had been on the street or in the riverbed for extended periods of time, including one person who had been unhoused for 30 years.”

ECHO operates three safe and secure overnight shelters in Atascadero and Paso Robles to meet the immediate needs of families and individuals who have become homeless. With ECHO Atascadero’s unique residency program, clients are provided case management services to assist them in securing a job and finding permanent and sustainable housing within three months of entering the shelter program. While enrolled in the program, clients are taught life skills for employment, budgeting, health care management, and social communication and interaction. The goal and the result of this practical support is the empowerment of residents to move in a positive direction while assisting them in acquiring the skills and services they need to become self-sustaining, including secure housing.

A force of 1,500 community volunteers provides ancillary support to run the facilities and meal programs at each location serving over 100 meals each evening to shelter residents and the homeless population.

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