Over the years, and with the increasing numbers of homeless and needy people growing within the state and county, the Transitional Food and Shelter nonprofit in Atascadero has been one frontline organization that has been active in combating the problems of homelessness, malnutrition and medical necessity for the weak and fragile members of the San Luis Obispo County. In order to achieve its goals, TFS needs the support of the public through funding, donations of critical materials and recruitment of volunteers to chaperone the various activities and programs.

So far, the organization has done a fantastic job of assisting the needy through its two core programs — the Medically Fragile Homeless Program and the Atascadero Warming Center Program. The Medically Fragile Homeless Program, according to Susan Macari, Vice President and Operations Officer, “provides temporary shelter and supportive services, including food, clothing, toiletries, and transportation to and from medical facilities for its numerous members. Under the program, members are counseled by participating healthcare professionals on how to manage their conditions by adopting healthy lifestyles and socializing in a harmonious manner with other members of the community.

The Atascadero Warming Center provides a safe and warm place for the homeless and sick during adverse weather conditions from December 1 through March 31, every year, when the temperature is expected to be less than 41 degrees or there is 50 percent chance or greater for rainfall. 

Susan Macari said that the TFS is grateful to St. Williams Parish in Atascadero, Dove Creek Church and Atascadero United Methodist Church for housing the warming center last season, when 46 people, including four families with children ages four weeks to 14 years of age, were housed under the program. During that season (2018 to 2019), more than 8,000 meals were provided through an-all volunteer effort that was organized by TFS. 


Jeff Wilshusen, President of Transitional Food and Shelter, said the organization is very grateful for the support and funding that it receives including grants from the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo, City of San Luis Obispo and County of San Luis Obispo.  Other donors include Bank of the Sierra, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Community Church of Atascadero.

Wilshusen said that the nonprofit needs more assistance from the community to fund its programs. With the increasing number of homeless people in the county, TFS appreciates all the donations that it can get to support its various programs which are having a positive effect on the lives of the most vulnerable members of the community.

According to Macari, the mission of the organization, which was established in 1998, is to “provide temporary shelter and supportive services for the homeless and medically fragile of San Luis Obispo County. This is accomplished through our Medically Fragile Homeless program and the Atascadero Warming Center.”