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Continued hope: Hope's Village SLO provides showers for the homeless

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On the corner of Prado Road and South Higuera Street is a pathway to the Bob Jones Trail. Leaving the sounds of car tires running on pavement behind, the trail begins with a bridge over a creek that leads to a huge open space with trees and lush bushes.

On May 15, the mobile shower, chairs, and folding tables of Hope's Village SLO occupied the head of the trail. The nonprofit is set up there to give homeless individuals, who wouldn't otherwise have access to a shower, a place to bathe.

COMMUNITY PROJECT Hope's Village of SLO works with the homeless community by providing showers, clean clothes, and food to those in need. - PHOTO BY KAREN GARCIA
  • Photo By Karen Garcia
  • COMMUNITY PROJECT Hope's Village of SLO works with the homeless community by providing showers, clean clothes, and food to those in need.

The nonprofit was founded by Becky Jorgeson five years ago. Its goal is to create a sustainable living community for individuals with little to no income. In order to do that, the nonprofit's vision is to create a village of tiny homes where people can afford to live and get their lives back on track.

She's been working with a group of about 20 volunteers daily for the past five years to get the word out about the village. The biggest obstacle to creating the community is land. Hope's Village has looked into acquiring land in Santa Margarita and Atascadero, but neither has worked out.

"It's taken a lot longer than we expected. It's been five years, and I thought all I'd have to do is put the word out there and somebody would come forth with land," Jorgeson said with a pause. "We were looking for a donation or a long-term inexpensive lease but neither has happened."

Carly, who didn't want to disclose her last name, was at a table folding clean towels for shower users.

She said finding a landowner who's willing to make their land available hasn't happened yet because people are afraid to dedicate a space to the homeless community.

"They're afraid that it will draw more homeless people, and it isn't about that at all," Carly said. "It's about plucking our own people off the street and helping them."

She said society forgets that most homeless individuals are people who were once our neighbors or people who we worked side-by-side with.

Over the past five years of working toward the goal of finding a property for the village, Jorgeson and her team has also been working on other projects.

Sitting under the shade of an umbrella, Jorgeson points to folding tables with shirts, shorts, beanies, fruit, and juice. It's clean clothes, towels, soap, and food for people who stop by.

She said they've successfully been running the mobile showers for seven months now. On Tuesdays, they are stationed at the Bob Jones Trail off Prado Road, and on Saturday, it's stationed at the United Church of Christ of San Luis Obispo off Los Osos Valley Road. With a few volunteers, the showers start at 9 a.m. and run until noon.

The other successful program that Hope's Village SLO has executed is RVs for Veterans. Jorgeson connects people who want to donate their RVs to homeless veterans in need. To date, the nonprofit has facilitated 75 donated motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth wheels.

What Hope's Village SLO prides itself on is its unique approach to working with the homeless community.

"The main thing we do here is bring lots of love, compassion, and hope because these people have no hope," she said.

To learn more about the nonprofit, volunteer opportunities, or how to donate, visit hopesvillageofslo.com.

Fast fact

The Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum will open in honor of all veterans on Memorial Day, May 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The museum will display items left by The Wall That Heals, which came to San Luis Obispo in late March. There will also be a White Table of Remembrance and a Fallen Soldier Battlefield Cross, which will honor service members who remain missing, unaccounted for, or lost in battle. Admission to the museum is free, and refreshments will be served. The museum is located at 801 Grand Ave., SLO. For more information, visit vetmusuem.org or call (805) 781-5901. Δ

Staff Writer Karen Garcia wrote this week's Strokes and Plugs. Send tidbits to strokes@newtimesslo.com.

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