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Must! Charities launches $500,000 partnership with ECHO to fight homelessness

The Atascadero non-profit must! charities celebrates its $500,000 partnership with El Camino Homeless Organization, or ECHO, which it announced on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.
The Atascadero non-profit must! charities celebrates its $500,000 partnership with El Camino Homeless Organization, or ECHO, which it announced on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.

A partnership worth half a million dollars and dedicated to solving homelessness in San Luis Obispo County came to fruition Wednesday night.

Must! Charities finalized and announced its $500,000, four-year partnership — about two years in the making — with El Camino Homeless Organization, the North County’s only homeless shelter.

The decision to partner with a homeless shelter was an easy one, said Becky Gray, executive director of the Atascadero nonprofit organization. It’s in Must! Charities’ bylaws that it cannot partner with an organization unless they know it involves a statistically driven issue.

“Obviously, over the past couple years, homelessness has become more and more of an issue,” she said. “We started diving in, and it was like ‘Wow, we’ve got to do something here.’ 

Some goals the shelter hopes to accomplish with the money, which will be distributed in quarterly increments over the next four years, include improving energy efficiency and reducing utility costs; adjusting staff compensation packages; investing in solar panels; creating a laundry facility addition; and researching other organizations that have had success in addressing homelessness.

This is the fifth organization that Must! Charities has partnered with and the largest community gift it has made since it began operations 2012, Gray said.

Megan Henney: 805-781-7915, @megan_henney

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