The hateful and judgmental letter regarding homeless people in Atascadero that appeared in the last edition of New Times was obviously written by an angry, fearful, and completely misinformed person.
ECHO (a private nonprofit organization) has operated a homeless shelter in Atascadero since 2001. We have not experienced an influx of transients anxious to move here. EOC has been planning a permanent shelter to be operated with our help for three years now. Still no influx of new homeless hopefuls. The 30 local homeless people who spend the night in our shelter are not seen holding signs in this town, because meals and a safe bed are available to them.
Please notice that we rarely see panhandlers (unlike other county towns). We urge anyone who sees panhandlers to direct them to existing services rather than giving food or money.
Most of the adults in our shelter are employed locally in minimum-wage jobs. So they are flipping your hamburgers or helping you find products in our box stores. Their children attend local public schools. The homeless who are disabled mentally or physically are put in touch with appropriate agencies to get well.