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Foundation raises $5.6 million to make SLO Homeless Services Center a reality

jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Two and a half years after fundraising began, the Homeless Foundation of San Luis Obispo County announced Saturday it has exceeded its $5.4 million goal to build a new Homeless Services Center that is expected to open by the end of the year.

The foundation has raised $5.6 million that will be used to build a 20,000-square-foot center at 40 Prado Road in San Luis Obispo that will provide emergency shelter beds for 100 people — with capacity for 150 in inclement weather — as well as overnight parking, a laundry room, pet kennel, showers, lockers and storage space.

Plans call for the center to have after-school programs for children; computers for children and adults; services for the medically fragile; drug, alcohol and mental health therapy; services for homeless veterans and their families; a commercial kitchen; a community garden; and housing support.

Construction is expected to begin in March, Homeless Foundation board President John Spatafore said.

“This is a huge step toward combating involuntary homelessness,” Spatafore said. “Our efforts now turn to completing the facility and operating it effectively for those among us who need help.”

More than 1,000 people contributed money to the effort, he said, including a significant challenge grant of $250,000 from an anonymous donor.

The Homeless Services Center will replace the aging 50-bed Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter on Orcutt Road and the Prado Day Center on Prado Road, both in San Luis Obispo. The new center is designed to consolidate, expand and streamline services that are currently offered at those facilities.

City building permits have been issued for the new center, and construction will be administered by the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County. CAPSLO is reviewing five competitive bids for the project, Spatafore said.

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