New Security at Homeless Parking Village

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

September 26, 2022

County Supervisors have approved a 2-year contract with a private security company to keep an eye on its RV camping facility for the homeless, located on Oklahoma Avenue next to the County Honor Farm.

Supervisors agreed to a retroactive contract with Good Guard Security, that is backdated to the start of the fiscal year (July 1), and continue through the end of June 2024, according to a staff report.

Good Guard Security will get a total of $312,883 to provide 24-hour security at the County’s “Parking Village,” which has had some issues with safety since it was created in August 2021.

The Parking Village was put together by the County mainly in response to a situation that had developed in Los Osos, when numerous vehicles owned by homeless folks began parking on Palisades Avenue, near the community center and public library. At its height, about 40-50 cars, trucks, campers and RVs were parked on Palisades, with some people pitching tents.

The Parking Village was put into a vacant parcel next to the County Animal Shelter. The “pilot parking program” was intended “to provide persons experiencing homelessness while living in their vehicles with a place where they could sleep and access hygiene services.”

“The program,” reads the report, “provides a place where people experiencing vehicular homelessness can legally park and stay 24-hours a day for a 90-day period. The site also provides access to hygiene and sanitation facilities. 

“Security is on site 24-hours a day to check people in and to monitor the site for safety. Security provides 24-hour unarmed, on-site monitoring to help maintain a safe environment for clients.”

The new parking village lot filled up quickly and now there are an average of 65 people staying there each night, the report said. 

The security contract isn’t the first for the program as the County hired Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO) in Fall 2021 “to provide case management services for the people on the site to aid them in finding permanent housing or other positive destinations, however, CAPSLO does not currently provide operational management or security for the site.”

CAPSLO’s involvement didn’t last long, as the County Department of Social Services in November 2021 took it over. Last spring, County Purchasing and DSS looked at the security issues and decided to switch security firms, dropping Condor Security and bringing in Good Guard, and began working out a contract. Good Guard is part of larger security company, Spectre Security, and based in Paso Robles.

So how much money has the County spent on this temporary parking arrangement? Supervisors authorized last March to allocate $1 million out of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) monies, which will cover the security contract. The remainder of the monies will be eaten up with services, supplies, sanitation, and such.

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