U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


San Luis Obispo County, California, is situated about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. It includes the cities of Atascadero, Grover Beach, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, and San Luis Obispo, most of which are near the coastline.

Action Plan

The county will have about $4,810,700 in Federal funds for the 1995 program year. These funds will come from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the HOME Investment Partnership program, and the Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) program. The Consolidated Plan activities that the county intends to implement during the next year include increasing homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income persons, funding the operation of and improvements to homeless facilities, and establishing a revolving loan fund for businesses to create or retain jobs.

Citizen Participation

The county conducted six advertised public workshops early in the preparation process to solicit public input about housing and community development needs. The county also consulted with a wide variety of agencies for additional input before preparing the draft plan. These workshops were advertised through a combination of legal advertisements in several local newspapers, press releases to local written and broadcast media, and notices mailed to any people or groups who had participated in county preparations of funding plans for the 1994 CDBG program.

The draft Consolidated Plan was published on March 3, 1995, and distributed to public libraries, each of the participating cities, and other interested parties. Notices and a press release advertising availability and a summary of the plan were issued on March 4, 1995. The county held three more public workshops during the week of March 13 to 17, 1995, to solicit public comments and answer questions about the draft plan. The county Board of Supervisors held hearings about the plan on May 2 and May 9, 1995, to approve the plan and authorize its transmittal to HUD before the May 16, 1995, deadline.


By January 1994 San Luis Obispo County had a population of 231,340 people. The county's population is projected to grow 18 percent by the year 2005. The county had 80,281 households in 1990, an increase of about 20 percent since 1980. Married couples with children were still the dominant households in 1990, although there was also an increasing number of single-parent families. Out of the 85,450 county households in 1995, over 10 percent were extremely low-income (0-30 percent of median family income [MFI]); 11 percent were low-income (31-50 percent of MFI); 18 percent were moderate-income (51-80 of percent of MFI); and almost 9 percent were middle-income (81-95 percent of MFI).

The county's Hispanic population grew by 96 percent between 1980 and 1990, faster than any other ethnic group. The Asian and Pacific Islander populations followed close behind, growing 81 percent during the same period. The proportion of the county population that is Hispanic is projected to increase from 13 percent in 1990 to 16 percent by the year 2000.



The recession which began in 1990 contributed to a decline in population growth and housing costs in the county. Housing prices actually fell 10 to 20 percent in many areas of the county. In-migration slowed briefly after 1990, partly because of the recession and partly because of high housing costs in the county. However, in-migration is expected to increase, according to recent estimates from California Department of Finance, which indicate a return to steady population growth for the county. Housing prices remain below their previous highs but are expected to stabilize and may start increasing again.

Public sector employment has continued to grow, although not rapidly, and is forecasted to remain relatively stable. Private sector employment in the county dropped during the early 1990s, but it is forecasted to exhibit steady growth to the year 2000. Also, the county's unemployment rate is expected to improve, falling from its 1993 high of about 8 percent to a projected 5.5 percent by the year 2000. Unfortunately most of the employment gains are expected to be in low-wage jobs.

Housing Needs

Available data indicates the housing needs of extremely low-income and low-income persons are similar except for the slightly more severe needs for extremely low-income persons. There is a high level of need for additional housing--both ownership and rental--for low-income households.

Information obtained through the public workshops and through consultations with local agencies emphasized the need for additional rental housing units with three or more bedrooms to meet the needs of large low-income renter households. Large units are much sought after, so their market rents are higher than many families can afford. The communities of Oceano, San Miguel, Nipomo, Grover Beach, Paso Robles, and San Luis Obispo exhibit the highest percentages of overcrowded housing units, indicating an undersupply of housing in general and an undersupply of affordable housing units in particular.

Housing Market Conditions

The 1980s, especially the years between 1985 and 1990, were characterized by rapid increases in population and housing costs throughout the county. Between 1980 and 1990 the price of housing in the county rose faster than did most household incomes. According to the 1990 Census the median value of a residence in the county had increased 173 percent since 1980, while median households increased only 110 percent.

In 1990 about 60 percent of the county housing was occupied by owners and about 40 percent by renters. Vacancy rates for owner-occupied and renter-occupied housing were within the ranges recommended by the Federal Housing Administration. However, there were areas of the county where vacancy rates were below the recommended rates, indicating an imbalance of demand over available supply.

Affordable Housing Needs

Extremely low- and low-income renter households have a high incidence of paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing. Many of these households are paying more than half of their income for housing costs. For example, more than 80 percent of extremely low- and low-income renter households pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing and 50 percent pay more than half of their income for housing.

Although ownership housing vacancy rates are generally at acceptable levels in the county, home prices are beyond the reach of nearly all extremely low-, low-, and moderate-income families. Because of the escalation of home prices and land costs in the county during the past 20 years, newly developed ownership housing affordable to low- and moderate-income people now requires some form of public or private subsidy.

Homeless Needs

In the city of San Luis Obispo, most homeless persons are single adults. However, in other areas of the county, most homeless persons are single mothers and their children. More than 30 percent are substance abusers and another 30 percent are mentally ill. The county Homeless Services Coordinator conducted a survey of homeless and emergency service providers in 1990 which documented 1,960 homeless and marginally homeless people in the county. When the two winter shelters were operating in 1993, the nightly count of sheltered homeless was 119 people.

The women's shelter of San Luis Obispo estimates that 1,050 people fleeing domestic violence will have been served through shelter and outreach services solely through the San Luis Obispo facility. That shelter houses 14 people each night, and is nearly always at capacity. The North County shelter also houses 14 people per night.

Needs more often cited by the homeless surveyed by the Economic Opportunity Commission (EOC) are:

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

The Housing Authority of the city of San Louis Obispo reported that in 1993 it had 169 units of conventional public housing, only two of which were vacant. None of these units are at risk of being converted to non-assisted housing. In 1993 the city of Paso Robles reported 148 conventional public housing units in the Oak Park Apartments development, none of which were vacant.

The Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo administers the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program in all areas of the county. It reported more than 1,600 dwellings covered by Section 8 contracts in the county, which provided affordable rents for 6,000 extremely low- and low-income people. The Housing Authority had no unused tenant-based rental certificates or vouchers. The waiting list for the Section 8 program administered by the Housing Authority of the city of San Luis Obispo contained about 1,400 people.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Some public policies within the county may constitute barriers to affordable housing. For example, many jurisdictions have imposed impact fees on new development to pay for public improvements needed to support that housing. One strategy which is currently being implemented by the county for addressing this impact on affordable housing is to collect an additional fee on market-rate housing to be used to pay public facilities on behalf of projects that provide affordable housing.

Fair Housing

The county will conduct an analysis of impediments to fair housing choice within the jurisdiction, take appropriate actions to overcome the effects of any impediments identified through that analysis, and maintain records reflecting that analysis and subsequent actions.

Lead-Based Paint

The 148 conventional public housing units owned and operated by the Housing Authority of the city of Paso Robles contain lead-based paint. That agency recently obtained funding approval to remove lead-based paint. It may be reasonable to assume that other housing in the county may also contain lead-based paint. The age of residential structures is an indicator of the potential existence of lead-based paint. More than 60,000 units were built before 1980 and may contain some lead-based paint. All Section 8 county residents receive a HUD pamphlet alerting them to the hazards of lead-based paint as well as information on how to request health screening if they suspect contamination.

Other Issues

There are currently more than 150 cases of HIV-positive diagnosed people in the county. People with AIDS need benefits counseling, home health care, emotional support, and emergency food and shelter. Alcohol Services estimates that about 11 percent of the county population suffer from alcohol or other drug addiction and are in need of support services.

There is a lack of housing for people with emotional, physical, or developmental disabilities. Physical barriers in new construction are being addressed, but the existing housing stock is generally not designed to accommodate people with physical disabilities. Physically disabled people need counseling, assistance with access to communications, training in independent living skills, employment preparation, support groups, referrals for housing and attendants, and transportation. People with mental disabilities need case management, day treatment, and outpatient treatment. Individuals released from mental hospitals or skilled nursing facilities need supervised residential care and support services.

Community Development Needs

One of the greatest areas of economic development needs in the county is for public improvements that encourage commercial and industrial development. Infrastructure improvements to the water systems, sewage disposal systems, streets, and drainage, support commercial and industrial developments and provide new employment opportunities.

The county recently completed a business retention, expansion, and attraction study using CDBG funding. That study suggested that the county's assets, especially its climate and quality of life, should be built upon and promoted to attract new businesses. Generally, the study recommends that efforts should be focused on:

Public input indicated that a variety of public facilities are needed. These include senior centers, youth centers, child care facilities, parks, and recreational facilities. Public services that the county needs to increase include child care services, youth services, and employment training programs.

Infrastructure improvements also need attention. Some communities with a limited ability to pay have a great need for expansion of water supply or sewage disposal facilities. For example, San Miguel needs its sewage treatment plant expanded, as it is already operating beyond its State approved capacity, but the current residents can ill afford to pay increased user charges for the expansion. Numerous neighborhoods in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo need handicapped access improvements to buildings or sidewalks.


Vision for Change

The city's overall goals for the Consolidated Plan are to provide decent housing, provide a suitable living environment, and expand economic opportunities. Each of these goals is designed to benefit low- and moderate-income people.

Housing Priorities

Increase first-time homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income households. One of the programs designed to accomplish this priority is the Ownership Housing Development program, which encourages development of affordable ownership housing for very low-income, low-income, and moderate-income households by offering a variety of incentives to reduce development costs.

The county will also use loans ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 to enable many families to qualify for conventional home loans. The county also intends to allocate about $5 million to assist with developing new ownership housing.

Increase availability of affordable and decent rental housing for low- and very low-income individuals and families. The principal type of activity for meeting this priority is rental assistance. The county estimates that the current level of Section 8 assisted households can at least be maintained, if not increased, during the 5-year period of this plan.

Maintain and upgrade existing neighborhoods and housing units occupied by low-income households. The county's residential rehabilitation program provides low-interest loans to low-income homeowners. It applies both to ownership and rental housing, although few rental housing owners are expected to participate. The county proposes to make deferred-payment loans available to low-income owner-occupants who have monthly housing payments that exceed 30 percent of their income.

Non-housing Community Development Priorities

Establish a revolving loan fund and other forms of assistance to enable businesses to create or retain jobs. While it is premature for the county to establish a firm number of employees projected to benefit from this type of program during the next 5 years, a tentative estimate of 100 jobs is the goal.

Promote the county as a desirable location for new or relocating businesses. One of the ways of promoting the county is through information packages. Another technique is to prepare marketing videos to broadcast on network television.

Provide assistance to communities that consist primarily of low- and moderate-income people and that cannot afford necessary public facilities or services.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

Local governments can influence the number of households experiencing poverty through public goals, policies, and programs that promote retention and growth of existing businesses and attract new businesses that pay their employees better than poverty-level wages. The county recently established the Economic Advisory Committee to facilitate establishment of a county-wide strategy for promoting economic vitality balanced with environmental quality.

The county and cities plan, zone, and provide services for development of new or expanding businesses, most of which pay wages above the poverty level. The county's affordable housing programs have helped many households, directly or indirectly, raise themselves above the poverty level. These households can focus their attention and energy on maintaining or improving their job status by participating in education or specialized job training once they are able to obtain or maintain safe and decent housing.

Housing and Community Development Resources

The county will have access to a number of Federal resources including CDBG, HOME, Farmers Home Administration, and Section 8 certificates and vouchers. The State will provide resources such as the Farmworker Housing Grant program, the Emergency Shelter Grant program, and funds from the Department of Economic Opportunity.

The Paso Robles and Pismo Beach redevelopment agencies have accumulated tax increment funds of which 20 percent will be available for affordable housing activities. The United Way may continue to provide about $14,600 annually to support the Equal Opportunity Commission shelter, the Salvation Army Homeless Outreach Program, and other housing related programs.

An unknown amount of private resources is expected to be available as well for the county's housing and community development efforts. It is anticipated that additional funding may come from the following sources: financial institutions that provide short- and long-term financing for development of affordable housing; private non-profit organizations that are involved in affordable housing development; and private for-profit groups that invest in a variety of housing and other community development activities.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

Most of the housing services identified in this Consolidated Plan are expected to be provided through two housing organizations—Peoples' Self-Help Housing Corporation and the San Luis Obispo Non-profit Housing Corporation. The participating cities, the county, the Economic Opportunity Commission, and numerous other agencies will be involved in providing the services.

The county intends to improve coordination between public and assisted housing providers and private and governmental health, mental health, and service agencies. This will require an unprecedented level of communication and cooperation between the many public, non-profit, and private entities that comprise the affordable housing and support services network.


Description of Key Projects

The activities that the county intends to implement during the next year include some of the following:

Lead Agencies

The county's Planning and Building Department will act as the lead agency for the Consolidated Plan.


MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.

MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.

MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.

MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.

MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

MAP 9 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).

To comment on San Luis Obispo County's Consolidated Plan, please contact:

Dana Lilley
Senior Planner
(805) 781-5715

Return to California's Consolidated Plans.