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CAPSLO Is In Need Of Landlords Willing To Give A Chance To Homeless Veterans

by Joshua D. Scroggin
November 30, 2018
CoastHills Community Relations Officer Amanda Hollingsworth presents CAPSLO Veterans Programs Manager Brandy Graham with a check donation for $500.
CoastHills Community Relations Officer Amanda Hollingworth presents CAPSLO Veterans Programs Manager Brandy Graham with a check donation for $500 supporting the program's holiday party for clients.

If you’re a landlord looking for a tenant, you know there’s no shortage of renters in need of affordable housing.

It’s common here on the Central Coast for Craigslist posts with reasonable rents to be flooded with 100 emails or more in just the first day of appearing on the site.

Now, imagine you’re a homeless military veteran, looking to get back on your feet and off the street. You’re doing your best to rebuild your life, but how do you avoid being drowned out in that wave of applications?

That’s where CAPSLO — Community Action Partnerships of San Luis Obispo County Inc. — and its Veterans Programs division comes in.

CAPSLO works with property owners and managers to not only re-house homeless veterans but to also keep them in those homes with financial assistance programs, training, landlord-tenant mediation and much more.

The organization has a six-week training course that certifies its clients are committed and prepared to be responsible renters, despite what past credit history or personal background checks may reveal.

“We’ll give them coaching and vouch for them with landlords,” said CAPSLO Housing Placement Specialist Colleen Plevel, “but having something more formal set up like them getting an actual certificate makes a big difference, too.”

What CAPSLO needs most is more landlords who are partial to, or just willing to give a chance to, homeless veterans, many of which are born and raised on the Central Coast or served at local military installations.

As a community financial institution that was originally founded to serve military and civilian personnel at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CoastHills was proud to deliver a $500 sponsorship for CAPSLO’s veteran client holiday party as part of the Credit Union’s 60 Great Deeds campaign.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of CoastHills, the Credit Union is committed to performing 60 great deeds all throughout the year before our next birthday in August.

If you are a property owner or manager, and you’re interested in partnering with CAPSLO, please contact Colleen at (805) 788-8319 or Tom Potter at (805) 503-0329. Or visit the Veteran Program’s Facebook page for more information.

It truly is an amazing program.

Introduced in 2014 and funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), CAPSLO’s Veteran Programs offer legal assistance, employment counseling and a slew of housing services including emergency housing stability assistance for veterans at risk of losing housing.

Additionally, CAPSLO helps with financial assistance, rental agreement education, VA benefits assistance, future housing stability planning and agency referrals for health care, insurance, education, transportation and child care.  

Over the past four years, the Veterans Programs have been gaining trust and clients in the homeless community by following through on their commitment to clients.

“Sometimes they don’t trust right off the bat and are apprehensive,” said Program Manager Brandy Graham, “but what we’ve found is there’s a homeless community, and it is a truly a community for them. If we can get one person in and the rest see that one person got successfully housed, we do what we say we’re going to do, then we get one more clients.”

Next week’s holiday party is expecting to host 40 clients at the Kiwanis Club of San Luis Obispo and includes a catered meal and stockings stuffed by staff with basic living essentials. It’s the first time CAPSLO will have pulled off such an event, and even though the program itself is funded by the VA, the holiday party would not be happening without corporate sponsorships like those provided by CoastHills.

The Credit Union’s grant came courtesy of the CoastHills Community Action Sponsorship program. Each month a group of staff volunteers review sponsorship requests and award funding to local nonprofits. Funded through new member fees, the committee is on pace to give $36,000 this year.

To request funding for your favorite local cause, visit the CoastHills Community Foundation page and submit your application directly through our website.

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