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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The City and County of San Luis Obispo announced a partnership Friday to expand county health campus services for a new housing community for those in encampments.

Both organizations announced the changes in a press release:

San Luis Obispo, CA— A housing community modeled after those that have successfully transitioned people from encampments to safe and stable housing is coming to the County of San Luis Obispo’s Health Agency Campus.

The Welcome Home Village is an 80-bed community that will provide people with the resources and supportive services they need to find their pathway back to housing. The project will be developed by DignityMoves, a San Fransisco-based nonprofit focused on creating dignified housing community for those transitioning out of homelessness, with site management and resident services being provided by Good Samaritan Shelter. Program participants will be identified through outreach efforts led by Good Samaritan Shelter and supported by the City of San Luis Obispo’s Homelessness Response Team.

“Facilities like Welcome Home Village have demonstrated success in relocating individuals from encampments and off the streets across the state,” said District 3 County Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg, who lives nearby the site. “I am acutely aware of the importance of having the Welcome Home Village come to my district and my own neighborhood. This decision stems from observing the more than 70% success rate of these structured programs which contribute to positive outcomes for our entire community.”

“Tackling homelessness is a top priority for the City of San Luis Obispo and this project and program is an important part of our strategic plan to address homelessness,” said San Luis Obispo Mayor Erica A. Stewart. “We need to reduce the number of homeless encampments along the Bob Jones Bike Trail by providing our most vulnerable neighbors with a place to call home and also clean up the area so that all community members can use it as originally intended. We are so grateful to the County and the San Luis Obispo community for their ongoing support.”

Once admitted to Welcome Home Village, all residents will participate in mandatory case management and tailored programming to meet their unique needs. The on-site programming will be provided by Good Samaritan Shelter and includes mental health assessments, wellness activities, and job readiness training. The project was originally proposed near South Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo, but was moved to the Health Agency Campus to improve resident’s access to important behavioral health services such as the County’s crisis stabilization unit, substance misuse disorder clinic, and mental health treatment services.

“While Welcome Home Village includes integrated supportive services, it will also be adjacent to the
County’s behavioral health care facilities. Locating these projects near intensive services is something
we’ve seen be successful in other communities such as Santa Maria and Grover Beach,” said Linda
Belch, the Deputy Director for the Adult and Homeless Services Branch at the County of San
Luis Obispo. “The integration of the Welcome Home Village into the Health Agency Campus is the
perfect opportunity to replicate that success in San Luis Obispo.”

Funded by a $13.4 million grant from the State of California’s Encampment Resolution Fund, the Welcome Home Village would be based on proven models used by the DignityMoves project in Downtown Santa Barbara and 5Cities Homeless Coalition’s Cabins for Change in Grover Beach. Both projects have been operational for at least a year and have been able to transition the programs’ previously homeless enrollees into stable housing.

“Good Samaritan Shelter currently oversees four programs similar to the Welcome Home Village, with
a fifth set to open in Lompoc in the next few weeks,” said Kirsten Cahoon, Good Samaritan Shelter’s Director of Homeless Services. “This model of programming focuses on whole-person wellness and life skill development.”

Both County and City officials are currently connecting with local stakeholders and neighbors near the site. The project will be reviewed by the County of San Luis Obispo’s Board of Supervisors on May 21st, 2024. If approved, site development and construction of Welcome Home Village will begin this fall with the first program participants being accepted in 2025.

Community members can submit questions and learn more about the Welcome Home Village

County of San Luis Obispo and City of San Luis Obispo

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