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District 3

December 5, 2023

Hello and Happy Holidays South County Chamber members,

Amidst the holiday season, I'm thrilled to share remarkable updates with our esteemed business community. Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the Barca Housing Project—a groundbreaking initiative set to bring transformative change to our community. This project, much like the successful Cabins for Change program, stands as a beacon of hope, offering a 90-day transitional housing solution for those in need. Inspired by the proven success of the 5CHC's Cabins for Change program, the Barca Housing Project aims to replicate its positive impact on individuals' lives. This transitional housing approach has been instrumental in guiding people off the streets, connecting them with essential services, and facilitating their transition into more permanent housing.

As we navigate the holiday season, witnessing positive change in addressing homelessness is heartening. However, it serves as a poignant reminder of the pressing need for such services. Currently, a substantial 266-person waitlist exists for the Cabins for Change program, emphasizing the urgency of initiatives like Barca and the critical role our continued support plays in their success.

Looking ahead, the Board of Supervisors has some crucial items on the agenda this month. These include a request to receive and file a report on Board-identified priority projects for the Department of Planning and Building, providing staff direction as necessary. Additionally, there will be a hearing to re-declare a shelter crisis ordinance, extending the establishment of local standards and procedures for emergency homeless shelters. The Board of Supervisors will also hold a hearing on community needs related to affordable housing, homelessness, and community development for the upcoming 2024 Program Year. Lastly, a discussion on the roles and responsibilities of Community Advisory Groups is scheduled.

As we shift our focus to the indispensable role of Advisory Councils and Committees in shaping San Luis Obispo County's future, these forums play a pivotal role in ensuring our community thrives. Active engagement from our business leaders is paramount, providing a platform to participate in decision-making processes. The impact of engaged business leaders is particularly significant in the context of the San Luis Obispo County Government. For our business community, engagement in Advisory Councils matters for several reasons:

Representative Decision-Making: Advisory councils represent a broad spectrum of community interests, ensuring policies and projects reflect the diverse needs and aspirations of our residents and business community.

Informed Decision-Making: Business leaders bring local knowledge and unique perspectives, contributing to well-informed and comprehensive decision-making processes.

Building Trust and Transparency: Engaging business owners fosters trust and transparency in local governance, as community members become integral to the decision-making journey.

Supervisor Paulding and I, alongside our Legislative Assistants Kelley Abbas and James Sofranko, have been diligently working as an ad hoc committee for several months to enhance collaboration between our Board and Community Advisory Councils. At our upcoming meeting, we are excited to discuss a newly revised Advisory Council Handbook, showcasing our commitment to streamlining processes and fostering transparency for our business community.

In another exciting opportunity, I would like you to consider filling the position appointed to CTAC, the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee. This unique chance allows citizens to directly contribute to shaping transportation decisions that impact our community.

As we approach the rainy season, climate change challenges come to the forefront for San Luis Obispo County. Extreme weather events are becoming more pronounced, demanding a proactive and united approach to safeguard our community. The impacts of weather-related emergencies, from prolonged droughts to intense storms, necessitate heightened preparedness.

Business owners are encouraged to take proactive measures such as preparing emergency supplies, creating a business continuity plan, discussing emergency notifications, staying informed, and ensuring that their business facilities are storm-ready. Visit prepareslo.org for more information about how to prepare your businesses and families.

As we bid farewell to the current year and eagerly anticipate 2024, I express heartfelt appreciation for the exceptional contributions of Brent Burchett of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau and Rick Cohen of the Avila Beach Community Foundation. Collaborating with these remarkable community partners has been a pleasure, and I extend my best wishes to them as they embark on new endeavors.

In Service,

Dawn Ortiz-Legg

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