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Paso Robles City Council approves new homeless plan 

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The strategic plan was approved with 4-1 vote

The Paso Robles Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness passed the Paso Robles City Council vote 4-1 on Dec. 5 with implementation approved for 2024 to 2027. This plan focuses on collaboration with various agencies to collect data on the current policies in place, such as housing options and educational resources, and improve on or develop new policies.

The cost of creating the new role of Homeless Services Manager and initial operating responsibilities is $200,000. The Homeless Services Manager will then put together a budget to apply for grants and approach the City for general fund appropriation for each budget cycle, which is every two years. Mayor John Hamon and councilmembers Steve Gregory, Fred Strong, and Sharon Roden voted in favor of approving the plan, with councilmember Chris Bausch the dissenting vote due to concerns over no set budget for the plan.

“With a sense of profound optimism and excitement, the City of Paso Robles unveils our first-ever Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness – which we hope is a blueprint for change in our community. This plan marks a pivotal moment as we collectively embark on a path to strategically address the challenges associated with homelessness that have affected our community,” wrote Paso Robles City Manager Ty Lewis in the Paso Robles Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness, adding that “the plan embodies our community’s unyielding spirit and commitment to creating an environment of positive change.”

The Paso Robles Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness is made up of six components: programs and services, behavioral health, education, outreach and training, housing continuum, funding and resources, and policies and procedures. The specified goals of each section are as follows:

Programs and Services

One major aspect of the Strategic Plan is creating the role of Homeless Services Manager to take the lead on the various aspects of the plan. The responsibilities outlined for this job position include handling grants, managing the different components of the plan, and working with the San Luis Obispo County to create the North San Luis Obispo Homeless Collaborative.

Behavioral Health

This area of the Strategic Plan focuses on providing resources that relate to mental and physical health for those experiencing homelessness, including services for detoxification and substance abuse support. After establishing what services are currently available, the Strategic Plan allows for stakeholders to develop services that are currently not being adequately met in the form of emergency service teams, mobile units, and more.

Education, Outreach and Training

Providing resources for the general public to learn about the services available through a communication plan, creating a youth education program focusing on the causes of homelessness, and creating accessible resources and skills for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness are the goals of the third part of the Strategic Plan. The Homeless Services section of the Paso Robles City website will be regularly updated on how the Strategic Plan is achieving its goals.

Housing Continuum

This component of the plan includes creating more types of housing, such as transitional and emergency shelter, that is both affordable and accessible. Similar to the Behavioral Health part of the Strategic Plan, a collection of the current status of affordable housing options will take place and then plans put into place to determine how future housing can benefit. As of January 2022, around 221 homeless persons in Paso Robles do not have shelter out of a total 239 people experiencing homelessness, according to the Point-In-Time Count.

Funding and Resources

Part of the Strategic Plan is to research and secure funding through local, state and national grants for a set budget used to achieve the goals of each different component. One goal is to determine the costs associated with each goal. The North County Homelessness Collaborative will focus on the fundraising aspect along with applying for grants.

Policies and Procedures

The final component of the Strategic Plan is focused on creating sustainable policies that combine the previous parts, such as housing options, mental and physical health, and more, alongside data collection and management. The Homeless Services Manager will be responsible for determining how to best improve current policies relating to homelessness with a focus on the riverbed, while coordinating with the City Council on legislation, creating resources for a Park Ranger program, and maintenance of the Riverwalk Trail with the REC Foundation. The San Luis Obispo County Homeless Services Manager will be consulted to create a system to monitor data on a regional level.

Several local and regional agencies were involved in creating the Paso Robles Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness: JL Group, El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO), the Paso Robles Housing Authority, Transitions Mental Health (TMHA), County of San Luis Obispo Health Agency, Paso Robles City staff from ten departments, and more.

The development of the Strategic Plan began in April 2022 and progressed to plan development in May 2023 with a group composed of the Paso Robles City, members of the mentioned agencies, previously unhoused community members, and more.

“With our Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness, we take our first concerted steps towards a brighter future. Together, Paso Robles has crafted a comprehensive framework that is ambitious, achievable, and innovative,” Lewis wrote.

For more information on the Paso Robles Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness, visit here.

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