Volunteers needed for Riverside County 2023 Homeless Count
Tue, 20/12/2022 - 04:00
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif.— Riverside County is looking for volunteers to get involved with the annual Homeless Point-In-Time (PIT) Count. The annual county helps agencies respond to homelessness. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up now for the annual survey of homeless adults and youth in cities and unincorporated communities throughout Riverside County.
More than 700 volunteers are needed for the 2023 count, which is scheduled for January 25. Volunteers from community-based organizations, churches and other groups will fan out across Riverside County’s 7,300 sq.-mile landscape alongside staff from the county and all 28 cities.
“To obtain an accurate count, we need participation from those who know their communities,” says Laura Gonzalez, Social Services Planner and PIT Count Coordinator. “Volunteers can sign up to survey individuals in their city of residence or another city of their choice. Volunteers will work with experienced providers to connect those in need to housing and social services.” Last year, volunteers counted 1,980 unsheltered individuals. Of those, 558 or 28% requested follow-up services and were subsequently referred for supportive services.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities that receive funding from the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program, such as Riverside County, to perform the count. The CoC funds provide support and services, including housing, to provide immediate and long-term solutions towards ending homelessness. HUD CoC funding has been combined with other federal and state funding such as No Place Like Home (NPLH), CARES and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to increase the total number of permanent supportive housing units by 300 units, or 40%, since 2019.
“Riverside County and the Continuum of Care have taken an aggressive approach to address homelessness across the region,” said Riverside County Board of Supervisors Second District Supervisor Karen Spiegel, who is on the CoC’s Board of Governance. “The data gathered from the count informs us where our services are needed most. It is so important that we all support the count, so that every person experiencing homelessness is identified.”
Training is required prior to the count. Volunteers must also have a smart phone or tablet to conduct the survey, be able to walk up to two hours and must be 18 or older. Volunteers ages 16-17 must be accompanied by an adult.
Interested participants can register at www.rivcohws.org/homeless-point-time-pit-count.