The Growing Issue of the Homeless In Morro Bay

By Alana Shields 

January 26, 2023
Morro Bay homeless encampment along Highway 1

Homelessness is a growing issue in today’s society. By the end of 2023 around 653,104 people were without a roof over their heads across the United States according to USA Today. That's up 12% more than in 2022. This poses new challenges for residents throughout the country, and cities in the US are actively trying to come up with solutions to solve this problem. 

In Morro Bay there are currently more than 100 people without a home and living in camps along rivers, in parks, on overpasses, etc. The city council met in mid-December, creating new ordinances for the homeless regarding no camping or staying in a vehicle on private property. This caused popular encampments such as along Highway 1 and Quintana Road to be cleared out, not just because of the new city laws, but also for safety reasons. Some of the main areas where the homeless stay are located on river beds which poses a danger for all with upcoming storms and flooding. Poor sanitation and sickness are also big problems in these homeless communities.

Local organizations such as 805 Outreach plan to bring their shower trailer to Morro Bay the 1st and the 3rd of each month, and individuals from Dignity Health plan to come out and help.  These additional services are planned to start on January 15 of 2024. 

Another organization called Hope for Homeless makes sure that the homeless have a joyful season during the holidays. In an article with KSBY, Tommy Bright talks about how he drives around and if he sees someone in need he supplies them with blankets and warm clothes. “I keep bags in the car and I just drive around, if I see them I hook them up — blankets, sleeping bags, beanies, clothing items to stay warm, food products…We're just trying to look out for everyone, especially this time of year,” Bright commented. 

The homeless population has grown drastically throughout the years causing cities to have to find a good solution for all. In Morro Bay, new ordinances have passed for the safety of homeless people and new services are being provided, such as shower trailers and healthcare check ups to hopefully solve the terrible problem of homelessness.