Letters to the Editor

Declare a homeless shelter crisis in SLO County

The city of Morro Bay cleared homeless camps along Morro Creek and the power plant in December before El Niño storms began rolling through.
The city of Morro Bay cleared homeless camps along Morro Creek and the power plant in December before El Niño storms began rolling through. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

As a 16-year resident, I appreciate the efforts to address the general welfare of the San Luis Obispo County homeless population. But I — along with other SLO County residents — am concerned about the welfare of our county’s homeless population posed by the extreme El Niño weather pattern anticipated in the coming months.

Since some private and nonprofit agencies within San Luis Obispo are the primary recipients of the county’s funding and authority to assist, advocate for and house the county’s homeless population, I respectfully urge the San Luis Obispo City Council to support all who advocate for a “declaration of a shelter crisis.”

Similar to such declarations in other major cities, including Los Angeles, a declaration of shelter crisis, codified in government code sections 8698-8698.2, would allow empty buildings to be opened without the normal bureaucratic hurdles to house more homeless people indoors — out of the expected flooding.

I respectfully urge the county’s Board of Supervisors, as well as members of all other city councils and town advisory boards throughout San Luis Obispo County, to adopt similar — if not identical — “shelter crisis declarations” so that additional empty buildings throughout the county can be opened and bus passes distributed.

Patricia Bennett, Atascadero

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