Sunny Acres, Dan De Vaul's improvised rehab facility on Los Osos Valley Road, has opened its doors to the homeless during the recent cold and rainy spell, and he plans to continue the effort. The dairy barn directly behind the roadside stand will act as a "warming house" any night that the temperature drops below 32 degrees or the rain lasts more than two consecutive days.
Sunny Acres Board Chair Judy Najarian said that they've set up heaters and received blankets from the Salvation Army to keep homeless folks warm and dry during the night, when the Prado Day Center is closed. But visitors aren't allowed to sleep there.
"This is really a collaborative effort," Najarian explained, noting that the Salvation Army, Maxine Lewis shelter, the women's shelter, the homeless coalition, and the Prado Day Center have all been working together to address the problem.
"You know, there's only 49 beds [for homeless] in the county, so what are these people supposed to do when it gets cold, or it's raining? They have no place to go to stay warm," she said.
Najarian noted that the warming center has not been used as much as they hoped. Transportation to the ranch is sporadic in the evening and on weekends. Najarian hopes that once the word gets out, more people will use the space.