SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- San Luis Obispo is scrambling to find a new way to tackle the homelessness problem and some are pushing for a new services center.
Five years ago, the number of homeless people from the county and from other areas was split 50/50. Now, city leaders say the number of homeless people from outside the county has gone up 60/50.
With roughly 600 homeless in the city, officials says its overwhelming the services available. As some homeless commit crimes of vandalism, stealing water and electricity, theft and public urination, the city struggling to deal with it all.
"The situation has gotten pretty serious," says San Luis Obispo City Councilman Andrew Carter.
But for the homeless, there's not a fix-all solution.
"I'm not proud to be homeless," says homeless man John Tessler. "And I try not to appear homeless because I do want to work. I do want to be treated like a citizen."
So the non-profit Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County is proposing a $4 million homeless center to be built to address these problems.
The site of the proposed site will be on South Higuera Street right behind the Department of Social Services.
CAPSLO says it has acquired a $1 million grant from the state but need several more million to build which they hope to get through private donations.
"It will be a combination of public and private," says CAPSLO Director Dee Torres. "We already have some grants secured. We also have private donations and pledges so we'll continue to raise money within the community."
But some doubt enough money will be raised in time.
"It's the majority of homeless people that are making it bad for the few that really need the services," says Tessler.
Santa Barbara County is also dealing with its homeless issue by recruiting volunteers to conduct a survey of its homeless population and their needs.
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