San Luis Obispo: Pro-housing Designation

Tara O’Brien 

In 2022, the latest Point in Time (PIT) count was conducted in San Luis Obispo which showed 1,448 people in the county who were experiencing homelessness. On January 31st, 2024, the California Department of Housing and Community Development awarded San Luis Obispo and seven other cities with a “prohousing designation”. This means the community was given a grant to allow them “exclusive access to Prohousing grants and additional points in the scoring of competitive housing, community development and infrastructure funding programs” (City of San Luis Obispo). Having this funding can allow the city of San Luis Obispo to implement housing plans and other policies to protect people experiencing homelessness. 

San Luis Obispo has developed plans to use the Prohousing Designation to provide 3,354 housing options in the city. Some of these plans include converting “unused commercial spaces into small residential units” and “[increased] flexibility for small lot developments”(City of San Luis Obispo). Having developed and feasible plans is very important for the city to take advantage of their prohousing designation to reach their goal of having more housing options by 2028. 

There has been some criticism on how San Luis Obispo is handling and implementing their housing goals. An update on the city’s progress “found the city is far

behind in its efforts to approve more low-income housing” (The San Luis Obispo, CA Tribune). Many policies have been put into place but there are not enough low-income housing options being approved in the city. People are wanting the city to put more emphasis on approving the construction of low income and supportive housing. To improve these overall plans, community members suggest they focus on creating policies that prioritize creating smaller housing units. This would allow for more space within the city and therefore would assist in giving people more housing options. 

San Luis Obispo has the opportunity and resources with the Prohousing designation to allow them to reach their goal by 2028. When it really comes down to it, if cities are not completely organized with their plan they are more likely to fail at achieving their goals. This emphasizes the importance of listening to the citizens’ concerns and creating policies to support the development of these housing communities. 

2022 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY SLO is far from hitting its housing goals, so why was it named a ‘pro-housing city’? City of SLO Named a ‘Prohousing City’ | City News Center | City of San Luis Obispo, CA. Prohousing Designation Program | California Department of Housing and Community Development

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