A vacant lot in Grover Beach will soon be replaced with 30 cabins as part of a program to reduce homelessness in San Luis Obispo County.
On Monday, the 5Cities Homeless Coalition broke ground on a non-congregate shelter, which is set to open early next year, according to the agency’s associate director Devon McQuade.
The shelter, located at 955 South Fourth St., will include 30 cabins that will each house a single adult or couple while they find permanent housing. The program will also offer case management services and connect residents to health benefits, counseling and CalFresh benefits, according to McQuade.
The city of Grover Beach purchased the land, and offered the 5Cities Homeless Coalition a 55-year lease for the shelter.
“I am so proud and pleased to be part of a city, and a city council, that really values human life,” Grover Beach Mayor Karen Bright said. “We believe that everyone has the right to dignity and a place to lay their head.”
The city purchased the lot with American Rescue Plan Act funding, according to Grover Beach city manager Matthew Bronson.
Meanwhile, the Balay Ko Foundation donated about $2.6 million to the project, and the Santa Barbara-based company Dignity Moves is the developer for the cabins, according to McQuade.
Each cabin includes two bunk beds, storage under the beds and shelves along the walls. If the tenant doesn’t need both bunk beds, there’s room for a desk or a chair, too, McQuade said.
The 5Cities Homeless Coalition launched the program in 2022 on land owned by San Luis Obispo County.
In that program, tenants live in their cabin for 90 days while a case manager helps them find permanent housing and organize other resources they may need, according to McQuade.
Tenants can get 30-day extensions to their stay if they demonstrate that they’re following their case plan, she said.
“Ultimately, we just don’t want to put anybody back out onto the street once they’ve come into the program,” McQuade said.
According to Bright, 81% of the program’s participants have graduated into permanent housing.
The Cabins for Change program has about 260 people on the wait list, 5Cities Homeless Coalition executive director Janna Nichols said, so she’s glad the agency is expanding its capacity to house people.
“To be opening another shelter, I’m kind of gobsmacked,” Nichols said. “It only happens because we have had our community come together.”