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Arroyo Grande allocates $200,000 to 5Cities Homeless Coalition 

The 5Cities Homeless Coalition (5CHC) is receiving some much-needed funding after the Arroyo Grande City Council voted to allocate $200,000 from its American Rescue Plan Act funds to the nonprofit.

In an April 30 letter from 5CHC's Executive Director Janna Nichols to Arroyo Grande City Manager Matt Downing, Nichols said the $200,000 would pay for housing, immediate needs, and operation of their interim non-congregate shelters located in Grover Beach.

click to enlarge FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE The Arroyo Grande City Council voted to allocate $200,000 to the 5 Cities Homeless Coalition to help pay for housing, utilities, and other immediate needs for the nonprofit. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JANA NICHOLS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Jana Nichols
  • FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE The Arroyo Grande City Council voted to allocate $200,000 to the 5 Cities Homeless Coalition to help pay for housing, utilities, and other immediate needs for the nonprofit.

"This request is based on the priorities of the county's recently adopted plans to address homelessness," the letter stated. "We are requesting $50,000 to provide direct financial assistance to support housing and utility needs through our housing assistance program for residents of Arroyo Grande."

Nichols said the remaining $150,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will be used for providing shelter and housing navigation services for 5CHC's Cabins for Change Program and the soon to be opened second transitional housing project, Balay Ko on Barca.

"Both locations will operate with the same program requirements with a goal of assisting participants to find permanent housing within 90 days," she said. "Both sites will pull participants from the same waitlist, which currently has 313 individuals awaiting services."

According to previous New Times reporting, Cabins for Change is a service that temporarily provides individual cabins for people while they work with providers to transition into permanent housing. The program has seen a success rate of more than 70 percent of participants eventually moving into stable housing.

The Balay Ko on Barca program is like Cabins for Change, as it will be a 90-to-180-day housing-focused program that will accept pets, offer on-site case management, and a community room where on-site enrichment activities will be provided, according to the 5CHC's website.

When it comes to Arroyo Grande residents, Nichols said 5CHC has supported the equivalent of 16 households, or 26 people. Five percent of Cabins for Change participants are from Arroyo Grande, and of the 313 people on its waitlist, 12 percent are from the city.

During the Arroyo Grande City Council's June 25 meeting, Councilmember Kristen Barneich thanked 5CHC for its outreach in the community.

"I'm happy to allocate the rest of this funding to you and thankful that you're in our community and helping out the residents of Arroyo Grande who are a little less fortunate than the rest of us," she said.

Back in 2021, the city was allocated $4.3 million in ARPA funding from the federal government to support pandemic response, bring back jobs, and lay the groundwork for a strong and equitable recovery, according to the June 25 staff report.

The ARPA had certain rules on how the city could use its funding, outlining that the city could provide the funds to a nonprofit organization to address impact associated with the pandemic. The city has decided to use these funds on 5CHC. Δ

Readers Poll

Do you think the SLO County Board of Supervisors should have gone against their policy that states funding for independent special districts should not result in a net fiscal loss to the county?

  • A. Yes, the housing and job opportunity the Dana Reserve is bringing is important
  • B. No, it's giving special privileges to the Nipomo Community Services District
  • C. I trust them, they know what's best for the county
  • D. What's going on?

View Results


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