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Paso Robles to build new homeless shelter 

City signs contract with ECHO for operation, homeless services

–Groundbreaking is set for May on what will be Paso Robles’ first homeless services center, which will be managed by El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO).

According to the most recent San Luis Obispo County Point in Time survey, homelessness has increased in the county by 32% since 2017. This past October, Paso Robles City Council, and City leadership took a bold step in addressing the ongoing and expanding situation of homelessness in Paso Robles and has elected to construct a new facility at 3100 Sulpher Springs Road near the city’s water treatment plant north of Highway 46 and east of US 101. Paso Robles has contracted with ECHO to operate the shelter and provide homeless services on behalf of the city. The funding for the project is provided by the SLO County Department of Social Services/HUD, and was a joint effort between the City of Paso Robles and ECHO.

“As the issue of homelessness continues to affect cities across California, our City Manager, Tom Frutchey, along with the entire city council, wanted to take a bold step that would have a meaningful and lasting effect on our community,” said City of Paso Robles Director of Community Services, Julie Dahlen. “Building our own facility will allow people experiencing homelessness to come to this facility and receive services that will help them move forward in their journey towards housing.”

The new facility, named First Step Homeless Services Center, will be complete with 36 beds for individual and family sleeping areas, a dining room and full kitchen, restrooms and shower facilities, a gathering area, a laundry room, and staff offices. ECHO has successfully provided homeless services from a 50-bed shelter in Atascadero for almost two decades. They will provide day-to-day management of the First Step Homeless Services Center.

Jeff Al-Mashat will serve as the Homeless Services Director, Paso Robles of El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO). He comes to ECHO with 25 years of experience at a variety of nonprofits.

ECHO’s unique residency program provides case management services to assist homeless individuals 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 for First Step Homeless Services Center in providing this practical support in Paso Robles is the empowerment of homeless 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.

The timeline for completion of the new facility is set for May 2021, with a grand opening in June 2021.

For more information about ECHO and First Step Homeless Services Center, visit

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