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Rescue Plan funds to help save Anderson Hotel 

Four major projects to combat homelessness in San Luis Obispo County will get critical funding boosts thanks the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The SLO County Board of Supervisors allocated $5.3 million of its ARPA funds on March 1 to support local efforts to save the Anderson Hotel in downtown SLO, build new affordable units in Arroyo Grande, establish "pallet shelters" in Grover Beach, and continue operating a safe parking site for unhoused residents on Kansas Avenue.

"I have total confidence these projects will be successful," 5th District Supervisor Debbie Arnold said before the board's unanimous vote.

The Housing Authority of SLO (HASLO) received nearly $4 million of the funds to assist with two projects: the Anderson Hotel and a 63-unit low-income housing development in Arroyo Grande.

click to enlarge IN JEOPARDY The Anderson Hotel in downtown San Luis Obispo is currently for sale. SLO's Housing Authority hopes to buy it and preserve its 68 low-income units. - PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT SLO
  • Photo Courtesy Of Visit SLO
  • IN JEOPARDY The Anderson Hotel in downtown San Luis Obispo is currently for sale. SLO's Housing Authority hopes to buy it and preserve its 68 low-income units.

Scott Smith, HASLO's executive director, told the board that the Anderson Hotel's private owners intend to sell the property—putting all 68 of its affordable units in jeopardy. HASLO hopes to purchase it, with help from $2 million in county ARPA funds.

"The owners are willing to sell to us within a reasonable amount of time," Scott said. "But they do want to sell, and if not to us, there are other proposals out there for conversion to boutique hotels and things like that, and the residents are extremely frail that live there."

Five Cities Homeless Coalition received $400,000 in funds to help it establish the county's first-ever pallet houses—small, independent shelter units for housing the homeless.

SLO County also invested $1 million in ARPA money in itself—to continue operating and improving a safe parking site on Kansas Ave., which now has about 100 participants. County staff said that an initial investment of $500,000 will be fully spent by the end of the current fiscal year.

Last year, when SLO County first received its $54.9 million share of federal ARPA funds, the Board of Supervisors set aside $6 million for housing and homelessness. It also allocated $30 million for public health and economic recovery, $10 million to restore government services, and $15 million for water, sewer, and broadband projects. Δ

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