Effort to build Homeless Services Center in SLO has raised $2.5 million

Rendering for new SLO Homeless Services Center
Rendering for new SLO Homeless Services Center

More than $2.5 million has been raised for a new Homeless Services Center in San Luis Obispo, with supporters hoping construction will start in the first part of 2016.

About $2 million more is needed for the new facility at 40 Prado Road, which would consolidate homeless services in San Luis Obispo and double the number of beds available in the city.

The Homeless Foundation of San Luis Obispo County is still in the midst of a quiet fundraising campaign with plans to launch a public campaign in November, board President John Spatafore said.

The Homeless Services Center will replace the Prado Day Center and the 49-bed Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter. The center could open in 2017 with 100 beds and the ability to add 50 more when needed.

Spatafore said the center needs to be built by 2018, when the city of San Luis Obispo will embark on a massive upgrade of its sewage treatment facility on the opposite side of Prado Road, necessitating closure of the Prado Day Center. (San Luis Obispo’s public utilities department owns the land.)

Jim Famalette, chief operating officer of Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, which will operate the 24-hour facility, said the cash and pledges received include more than $1.3 million in private donations and $1.2 million in funds from the county, state and the city of San Luis Obispo.

Famalette said the overall $4.5 million cost could come in lower than anticipated.

Spatafore said board members want to make sure most of the funds have been raised, and that the plans for ongoing operating expenses, programs and volunteers have been well developed, before the public campaign starts.

“We want to do it right,” he said. “We’re hoping to get to a point where we have around $200,000 to $400,000 left to raise for the entire project.”

Major donors include Roy and Linda Rawlings; Diana and Craig Foch; Spatafore and his wife, Debra; Bob and Debra Wacker; and Gary Grossman, president of Coastal Community Builders.

Spatafore only released the amount of Grossman’s donation — $100,000 in cash and in-kind materials — but said the other major donors were all in the six-figure range.

Plans call for a single-story facility with a kitchen, laundry facilities, showers, lockers and storage, a classroom for children and community rooms. Separate dorms for men, women and families will be built, with space to accommodate up to 150 beds if needed.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided, as well as case management, mental health counseling and drug and alcohol services.

CAPSLO partnered with the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority to purchase 9.7 acres at 40 Prado Road for $2.3 million. CAPSLO used a $1 million California Department of Housing and Community Development grant to pay for its $742,500 share of the property.

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