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Affordable housing project lands in Pismo Beach instead of at Hillside 

The controversy over Hillside Church in Grover Beach—and a low-income housing and homeless services facility that was proposed for the location—appears to be coming to an end.

Peoples' Self-Help Housing and 5Cities Homeless Coalition announced on Oct. 1 that they had secured another property where they will provide the permanent and supportive housing facilities that were originally proposed at Hillside. The new property, located at 855 N. 4th St. in Pismo Beach, cost more than $2 million and will hold a community center, full-time on-site property management, and about 50 units of affordable housing—10 to 15 of which will be used for youth in transition, according to Peoples' Self-Help Housing President and CEO John Fowler.

click to enlarge SUPPORT In an effort to expand homeless services in South County, Peoples' Self-Help Housing and 5Cities Homeless Coalition secured property in Pismo Beach to provide affordable and supportive housing facilities. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • File Photo By Jayson Mellom
  • SUPPORT In an effort to expand homeless services in South County, Peoples' Self-Help Housing and 5Cities Homeless Coalition secured property in Pismo Beach to provide affordable and supportive housing facilities.

The project was approved unanimously by the Pismo Beach City Council on Sept. 17, and Fowler said the necessary redesign and remodel work will likely take about three years to complete.

"I think this is going to go smoothly," Fowler told New Times, "and hopefully quickly."

The new property is part of a larger plan, headed by Peoples' Self-Help Housing and 5Cities Homeless Coalition, to expand homeless services in SLO County, which is being funded by the California Homeless Emergency Aid Program Grant.

The full expansion—including new office space for 5Cities, affordable and transitional housing, an an emergency warming center—was initially planned for the Hillside Church property in Grover Beach. But neighborhood opposition to the project, followed by litigation over the church's ownership, put the plans in limbo. After 5Cities secured office space at 100 South St. in Grover Beach in August, and with the new property for housing in Pismo, Fowler said Peoples' Self-Help Housing plans to officially cancel escrow on Hillside soon.

All that remains unresolved in the project, he said, is finding a location for a new warming center. Although the warming center isn't a part of and won't be funded by the California Homeless Emergency Aid Program, Fowler said it's needed, and the search for the right location is on.

"We're hoping we can find a site the community will embrace," Fowler said, adding that with cold weather on its way, he's hoping to find property soon. "Time is of the essence here." Δ

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