SACRAMENTO – State Senator John Laird (D- Santa Cruz) recognized El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) as the 17th Senate District’s 2021 Nonprofit of the Year for their work to enhance the quality of life of local residents. ECHO is a three-facility, 140-bed homeless organization supporting those facing homelessness in the San Luis Obispo community and instilling a strong sense of pride in the community members they serve.
ECHO has operated its unique residency program for homeless individuals and families in Atascadero for the past 20 years, teaching life skills for employment, budgeting, and healthier habits by providing case management services to assist residents in securing a job and finding permanent and sustainable housing within three months of entering its shelter program.
In addition to its residency program, ECHO offers a meal program serving approximately 150 meals to residents and other community members daily.
“ECHO has truly stepped up for those in need of assistance during this devastating COVID-19 Pandemic.” said Laird, “ECHO has broad community support and continues to provide foundational tools for members of our community to become self-sustaining and secure permanent housing. I am honored to recognize their life-changing work.”
This past year, ECHO opened a second residency program in Paso Robles, converting a former motel property to serve community member, in addition to remodeling a portion of the old motel into low-rent apartments for families in need.
ECHO’s public recognition for its outstanding work as the 17th Senate District’s Non-Profit of the Year is a fitting reflection of its vital role in the community.
Senator John Laird represents the 17th State Senate District, which includes all of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo counties, as well as parts of Santa Clara County. He previously served as the Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, member of the State Integrated Waste Management Board, a member of the State Assembly, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Aids Project, and two terms as Santa Cruz Mayor. His lifetime of public service and social justice advocacy saw him become one of the first openly gay mayors to serve in the United States. Senator Laird has been a long-time resident of Santa Cruz with his spouse John Flores.