ECHO to open First Step homeless shelter at the location

PASO ROBLES — Escrow officially closed on Motel 6 in Paso Robles, allowing the First Step Housing Program doors to open and begin serving the homeless in North County.

First Step is the first homeless shelter in Paso Robles and will be run by the El Camino Homeless Organization in Atascadero.

“We are excited to announce that escrow has closed and we officially have ECHO Paso Robles. Our new facility will be at The First Step Housing Program, which will also provide permanent housing. Tomorrow will be our first night to welcome guests and help them on a positive path back into permanent housing,” ECHO posted on its Facebook page on Dec. 2.

The Motel 6 on Black Oak Drive will provide over 100 rooms of emergency and transitional housing for homeless and low-income housing after the Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo was awarded $15 million from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Project Homekey in mid-October.

HASLO, El Camino Homeless Organization of Atascadero and Peoples’ Self-Help Housing are collaborating on the project with $12.4 million used to purchase the motel. Roughly $1 million will be used for renovations and the remainder will support the combined facilities for the next two years, said PSHH CEO Ken Trigueiro.

“We are very excited about this project,” Trigueiro said in October. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We certainly believe it will help.”

ECHO will lease 50 of the motel’s 122 rooms for emergency and transitional homeless housing for First Step.

“It’s a big miracle,” said ECHO CEO Wendy Lewis in October. “It is going to make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

ECHO operates a safe and secure overnight 50-bed homeless shelter in Atascadero. Clients are provided case management services to assist them in securing a job and finding permanent and sustainable housing. While enrolled in the program, clients are taught life skills for employment, budgeting, health care management and social interaction.

Much of what ECHO provides in Atascadero will be applied to First Step in Paso Robles. Security and staff will be onsite daily.

Sixty-three of the rooms will be for low-income housing after kitchenettes are added. HASLO and PSHH will operate the yet-to-be-named permanent housing project. The nine remaining units will be used for operations by the three entities. The low-income housing portion is expected to be open in February of 2021.

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