San Luis Obispo County’s 10-year plan to end homelessness took a step forward this week when the Board of Supervisors designated the United Way to coordinate finances for the coalition.
The move allows the Homeless Service Oversight Council to contract with Patricia Gomez to run the agency. Gomez, a former deputy county counsel, has been serving as de facto executive director for a few weeks, according to Supervisor Adam Hill.
More than $59,000 a year has been committed for two years from an aggregation of governments and private organizations. The bulk of the $118,720 comes from the county — $70,555.
In addition to the county government, participants are the cities of San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Morro Bay and Pismo Beach, seven nonprofit organizations, and Sierra Vista and Twin Cities hospitals.
With this many people involved, “for greatest effectiveness, the (oversight council) needs to be guided and coordinated by a staff person at the level of executive director,” according to a staff report written for the Board of Supervisors by Dana Lilley, supervising planner.
A county civil grand jury report released earlier this year also had suggested that the council hire a person to oversee the sprawling attack on homelessness. The grand jury wrote that the 24-member oversight council is "probably too large to be an effective governing body.”
A survey conducted in January 2009 tallied 3,829 homeless people in the county. Of those, 1,372 were children under 18.