City of San Luis Obispo logoDue to multiple health and safety issues, affecting the unsheltered, residents, City of San Luis Obispo operations and the natural environment, on Monday, October 19th, the City of San Luis Obispo will begin cleaning up an area along the Bob Jones trail and the adjacent San Luis Creek.  At this time there are many campsites that have created a significant risk to individual and community health and safety.  Outreach to the unsheltered in the area began last Monday, with local social services and mental health partners on hand throughout the week to provide connect people with services including shelter referrals and other support.

“Safety is the City’s top priority,” said Assistant City Manager for Community Services Shelly Stanwyck. “City staff and social service agency partners continue to try and link people in this area to services including housing, medical and mental health and other social services they need. This area is unsafe due to multiple factors including flooding and fire, this is not a safe place to camp.”

Stanwyck said there have been two deaths in recent years from flooding as well as multiple swift water rescues at this location and more than 49 fires in the past 10 months. Lack of basic sanitation, natural resource damage from trash and waste harm water quality, local wildlife and a restored wetland, and nearby construction and significant critical City infrastructure are added layers to the health and safety concerns.

In preparation for this clean up and consistent with CDC guidelines and the City’s longstanding support of the homeless, the City coordinated outreach yesterday with local social services and mental health partners, including the County of San Luis Obispo, which is the lead agency to provide services that support people experiencing homelessness. Those living in the area are being referred to 40 Prado, 40 Prado Safe Parking, ECHO, and Good Samaritan for shelter.  Over thirty individuals were connected with the with local social services and mental health partners.

The City’s Community Action Team is also offering to arrange family reunifications. In the past year, the team has arranged more than 25 successful reunifications with residents experiencing homelessness.

The County’s Department of Social Services, TMHA, 40 Prado, CAPSLO, Veterans Administration, and SLO Bangers have offered other support in advance of Monday’s cleanup including:

  • Case management
  • Referrals to food assistance programs
  • Mental health services
  • Health care

The cleanup of trash and abandoned materials is expected to take several weeks and will include removing trash, biohazards, as well as the trimming and removing brush that could pose a fire and/or flood risk, and wetland restoration.  The Bob Jones Trail will be closed to public use during that time as will the adjacent open space and wetland so nature can heal.

“The City looks forward to the County leading an effort with the other cities in the region on coordinated and regional solutions for the unsheltered and homeless beginning in January, said Stanwyck. “The City of San Luis Obispo allocates well over $1 million in general fund resources to address this social services shortfall.”

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