August 20, 2018 | Must! Charities and ECHO Homeless Shelter: This is Our Story

Must! Charities and ECHO Homeless Shelter: This is Our Story

Just over a year after embarking on a $500,000 partnership,

positive impacts to our community are evident


August 28, 2018 (Templeton, CA) – In 2017, must! charities embarked on a multi-year, $500,000 commitment with ECHO, El Camino Homeless Organization.  As the numbers of homelessness in our community increased, must! began the research process. Homelessness has many different layers – there is something at the root of every individual that led them to being homeless. Unfortunately, a stigma exists, mostly because of the confusion between those that are truly homeless and “transients” (individuals choosing to live a nomadic, homeless lifestyle).


That is when must! charities was introduced to ECHO. Northern San Luis Obispo County has just ONE homeless shelter, which is ECHO.  Not only does this shelter stand out geographically alone in a region; it also stands out as one of a kind in the way it operates. At ECHO they empower those they serve to achieve self-sufficiency it’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up – sound familiar?  This is exactly what must! charities does with our partner organizations.  


must! charities entered into a partnership with ECHO at a very vulnerable time.  ECHO was navigating a new way of operating and feeling the adjustment to those changes. Change can be difficult, but must! identified this as a unique opportunity to support an organization with a focus on even more success at achieving their mission.


In its first year of partnership with must! charities, ECHO has invested in strategic planning, board development, solar energy, and in-house laundry facility. Eric Gobler, ECHO Board Chair, "Our four-year partnership with must! charities has given us the ability to leverage our financial abilities beyond our wildest dreams. As a result of our must! partnership, our staff now have financial benefits never before previously imagined, our clients receive support services beyond our past expectations and the organizational improvements allow us to look farther into the future than ever before."


In 2018 ECHO has graduated 67 individuals and families from the program and on to self-sufficiency and permanent housing. Since the project inception, this number has continued to rise. Now just six months in to 2018, they have already graduated more than the entire year prior.


“Our partnership with must! has changed ECHO in such a positive way and has provided invaluable resources to those we serve. Their gift has enabled us to build our capacity and become an even more efficient non-profit. Our new solar and laundry facilities donated by must! have yielded tremendous cost savings which we can now use toward providing even more resources for our residents.”


must! charities:                                                                                                                              

Since 2012, must! charities has committed over $1.5 million dollars in North San Luis Obispo County. Must! Charities works together with individuals and businesses in the community who are dedicated to improving the quality of life of those most in need. Must!’s community work adds to the vibrancy of the region by strengthening partnerships and programs through fundraising and advocacy. They continuously empower non-profits to make strategic, sustainable changes that create greater impacts in relationships.


Must! Charities Contact:

Becky Gray, must! charities



El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO):

ECHO has been in operation for 15 years. ECHO was started as an all-volunteer based organization. Over the years ECHO has grown, but the success of ECHO clients continues to be largely due to the unique ability to provide these services through strong community support, a dedicated volunteer base, and professional staff.  ECHO consistently strives to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness one person at a time—one family at a time.  ECHO believes in the model of lifting those who are ready to help themselves.


ECHO Contact:

Wendy Lewis


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