Prado center in SLO to open tonight as warming center for homeless people

UPDATE AT 3:45 P.M.: Two local businessmen, Paul Hodgson of California Cooperage and John Villa of Villa Automotive, have contributed $1,000 each and have put out a challenge to other local businesses to contribute, Torres said, not only this year but on an annual basis.

Torres said in the past the warming shelter has housed an average of 40 to 60 people, and “we’ve never had to turn anybody away.”

ORIGINAL: The Prado Day Center will open as a warming shelter tonight and Friday night to provide shelter for the homeless from the overnight cold.

Dee Torres, director of homeless services at Prado, and her colleagues have been scrambling to provide the staffing to open the center. She told The Tribune this afternoon that the group has nearly enough staff and she and others will fill any gaps that occur.

Earlier this week the Board of Supervisors pledged $5,000 toward the emergency opening, and the city of San Luis Obispo and Friends of Prado also are expected to contribute.

Torres said an overnight low temperature of 32 degrees or heavy rain for two days would trigger the opening.

“We’re looking at weather reports to see how long (the cold snap) might last,” she said.

County Supervisor Adam Hill said the center was open for approximately 25 nights last year. This would be the third year the Prado Day Center has opened its doors to the homeless at night. Normally it closes at 5 p.m.

There are approximately 3,800 homeless individuals in San Luis Obispo County.