Skip to main content

Paso Robles kicked off a new approach to addressing homelessness in the city, as its City Council voted 4-1 to adopt the Paso Robles Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness on Dec. 5. The plan has been in the works for just under two years, starting in April 2022 with the adoption of the city’s goals for the 2022-24 fiscal years, which called for a plan based on community needs and feedback. Bill Whalen, a consultant with Laguna Niguel-based consulting firm JL Group which worked on the project, said the plan prioritizes the hiring of a homeless services manager “laser-focused” on coordinating city services, ensuring continuity of effort, preventing duplication of services and managing grants.


Paso Robles’ new approach to addressing homelessness was developed by a working group of city staff, several members of the former Unhoused Futures Studies Task Force, members of the Paso Robles community who have lived homeless experiences, and representatives from stakeholder agencies and organizations. Starting work in May 2023, the working group conducted a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis, with the goal of creating a plan that aligns with San Luis Obispo Countywide Plan to Address Homelessness.

The 2022 Point-In-Time Count identified 239 homeless individuals living in Paso Robles in January 2022, of which 221 are unsheltered, according to the strategic plan. Beyond the hiring of the manager, assessment of needs and budget and communications efforts, the plan has few concrete details past the first year of operations. Whalen said the city has “done a lot to tackle this problem, but up until this point, it’s been somewhat piecemeal, and we don’t really know what our baseline is.”

“Until you develop your baseline, it’s really hard to realistically come up with achievable numbers,” he said. The new homeless services manager will establish that baseline by assessing the city’s homelessness needs in 2024, and will develop a budget for years two and three of the plan that provides the greatest return on investment, according to the plan documents.

According to the council agenda report, staff will seek the funding for the new position as part of the city’s budget development for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 fiscal years, potentially funding the position through the general fund and grant applications.

Leave a Reply