The Paso Robles City Council decided at its October 1st meeting to contract with El Camino Homeless Organization to expand its services into the city of Paso Robles beginning on November 1st. Following that decision, ECHO is pleased to announce the addition of Jeff Al-Mashat to its staff as the first North County Homeless Services Director.
Al-Mashat was most recently the Associate Director at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. Before that, he worked for more than two decades in Atlanta, Georgia’s nonprofit community. His roles there included work with several homeless services and affordable housing organizations, including the Atlanta affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, and 24/7 Gateway, the largest homeless services center in the southeastern United States with more than 300 beds. His responsibilities included managing a wide variety of government grants and contracts, as well as helping to oversee the successful operations and maintenance of facilities.
“We are so pleased to have Jeff joining the ECHO team at such an exciting time for the organization,” said Wendy Lewis, ECHO’s President/CEO. “He brings a wide range of fundraising, government relations and management experience to the position. His knowledge of homeless services will allow us to hit the ground running as we extend our service area to Paso Robles.”
Among the responsibilities of the North County Homeless Services Director will be to oversee the design and construction of Paso Robles’s First Step Homeless Navigation Center. Al-Mashat will also develop written policies for the center, recruit and coordinate volunteers in conjunction with the Paso Cares organization, and further prepare for a fully operational Paso Robles homeless center to open in spring 2021.
“We look forward to bringing our services to Paso Robles,” said Lewis. “Jeff’s experience with government relations, building operations and fundraising are a perfect fit for the work that is before us.”
About El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO)
ECHO currently operates a safe and secure overnight 50 bed shelter to meet the immediate needs of families and individuals who have become homeless. ECHO has received approval to expand to a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week facility and add 10 additional beds. The transition will begin in September and is expected to be complete within 6 months to a year. With a unique residency program, ECHO clients are provided case management services to assist them in securing a job and finding permanent and sustainable housing within three months of entering the shelter program. While enrolled in the program, clients learn life skills for employment, budgeting, healthier habits and more. The goal and the result of this practical support is the empowerment of residents to move in a positive direction while assisting them in acquiring the skills and services they need to become self-sustaining, including secure housing. More than 60% of people entering the program find permanent housing.
A force of 1,500 community volunteers provide ancillary support to run the shelter program and the meal program that serves as many as 80 dinners each night to shelter residents and the homeless population. ECHO also operates a shower program that provides hot showers three nights a week to anyone in need. ECHO supplies the homeless population all the necessary toiletries and offers access to clothing, shoes, blankets, sleeping bags and school supplies for children.