The Paso Robles City Council is moving to form a North County Homeless Coalition with the goal of finding long-term solutions to the issues surrounding homelessness.
A unanimous vote on April 5 followed the March decision that adopted a multi-phased, $69,000 approach to address Paso’s homeless shelter crisis. So far, steps have included a riverbed evacuation, trash cleanup, and temporary shelter plans.
Thirty camps were removed from the Salinas riverbed as part of the evacuation effort, along with 20 trash sites. Although the city didn’t spend all of the money allocated in March, two new sites have since been erected and councilmembers pointed out that this was part of the ongoing issue at hand.
“As far as an oversight council, I’d like to see that get started as soon as possible,” Councilmember Steve Gregory said. “It’s great to have the programs where we host the MASH [homeless assistance] events, but I think we need to put the tires to the road and get moving on a coalition.”
He was not alone in this sentiment. Four of the five councilmembers verbally spoke about the need for this coalition, including Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin and Councilmember Fred Strong.
“This is an issue that’s not just local, it’s statewide; it’s nationwide,” Strong said.