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Grover Beach partners with 5CHC for future shelter

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Grover Beach's winter warming center and proposed Pallet-style homes are about to receive a companion. At least, the land has been earmarked for it.

The Grover Beach City Council unanimously approved the purchase of 0.44 acres of unused property at 955 South 4th St. during its March 14 meeting. With the help of 5 Cities Homeless Coalition (5CHC), the beach city plans to build something that could be the first shelter space in the area operating year-round.

PLOT POINT Grover Beach can expect a temporary homeless housing facility at the property on 955 South 4th Street (pictured) as early as 2023. - SCREENSHOT TAKEN FROM GROVER BEACH CITY COUNCIL PRESENTATION
  • Screenshot Taken From Grover Beach City Council Presentation
  • PLOT POINT Grover Beach can expect a temporary homeless housing facility at the property on 955 South 4th Street (pictured) as early as 2023.

"Between the county and 5 Cities Homeless Coalition, it takes a proverbial village to make a proverbial village," Grover Beach Mayor Jeff Lee said at the meeting.

Grover Beach City Manager Matthew Bronson told New Times that based on when the city gets grant funding, the facility could open as early as 2023. In its early planning stages, the project aims to set up a non-congregate space that could serve as bridge housing or even as an emergency shelter.

At the March 14 City Council meeting, Bronson said that the proposed structure wouldn't be a large multi-use building like San Luis Obispo's 40 Prado building run by Community Action Partnership SLO. Grover Beach's facility is intended to be between 10,000 and 15,000 square feet, constructed relatively quickly at a lower cost.

Using $425,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act, the city plans to acquire the South 4th Street property and enter a 55-year lease agreement wtih 5CHC. But the length of the lease left Councilmember Robert Robert wondering about what would happen once the time was up.

"Most of us won't be here after 55 years, but I think there should still be a plan to know what to do after 55 years for our children and grandchildren," Robert said at the meeting.

Community activists recently criticized the city for its treatment of the homeless. On Feb. 23, the city relocated several homeless people sheltering at Ramona Park to do a deep clean of the area. But the move drew heavy criticism from a group called Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo (SBSLO) Alliance.

"This is infuriating! @cityofgroverbeachca You better have provided housing to the folxs who called that Ramona Park home," read a comment left by the group on the city's Instagram post talking about the cleanup.

One of the group's biggest criticisms of the city is that the area doesn't have a dedicated homeless shelter, it only has a warming shelter, which operates in the winter on days when the weather is going to be significantly cold or wet.

Bronson told New Times that the city asked homeless people to temporarily vacate the space while it carried out the cleaning and maintenance project.

"The lack of shelter space in our area means that the city is severely limited in enforcing its camping ordinance in parks and other public spaces and underscores the need for more shelter capacity like what is proposed at this site," he said. Δ

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