Volunteers Survey Riverside County Homeless Population
Mon, 30/01/2023 - 04:00
Over 1,0000 Volunteers Survey Riverside County Homeless Population, Connect to Services
Volunteers hit the streets Jan. 25 for the annual count of those experiencing homelessness
Melanie Wilson, employee of the Riverside County Housing, Workforce Solutions department met 24 year-old Lucas on Wednesday morning. As he was bundled up to stay warm from the biting cold, the county was able to find him a bed at a local shelter for transitional age youth from 18 - 24 years of age. These same day services were part of the county’s “more than a count” initiative to provide wraparound services and prioritize the vulnerable populations for housing.
More than 1,000 volunteers, along with employees from the county and all 28 cities, went out in the early morning on Wednesday, Jan. 25, to count the area’s homeless population. They were deployed from 39 different sites throughout the county.
“This year, I participate in the count in Lake Elsinore, which is now in the Second District, “said Supervisor Karen Spiegel, Second District. “Each year that I’ve participated in the count, I’m struck by the different circumstances that lead to someone becoming homeless, which fuels our wrap-around services for the homeless. Thank you to the many volunteers who gave of their time to get involved on a cold morning to address homelessness.”
This was the largest number of volunteers ever organized to support Riverside County’s annual Point In Time (PIT) count. Volunteers from colleges, universities, community-based organizations and faith-based organizations, city and county governments, as well as the community at-large who wanted to get involved, were trained to conduct the census.
A separate count of homeless youth also began Wednesday and will continue through Friday, January 27. Approximately 300 volunteers are supporting the youth homeless count.
Officials use the information from the point in time count to determine funding levels, assess regional needs, and monitor local progress in reducing homelessness.
“This is a critical issue for our county and not just for us working in local government, but all of our neighbors who recognize that is a humanitarian issue; it’s a quality of life issue,” said Heidi Marshall, Director of the county’s Department of Housing and Workforce Solutions. “I think that’s why you see the number of volunteers have gone so high this year.”
In 2022, a total of 1,980 unsheltered homeless individuals were counted on the streets of Riverside County during the Point In Time Count. In addition, 1,336 homeless residents were counted living in shelters. Although the number of homeless individuals increased, the number of those unsheltered decreased.
The results from 2023 PIT will be available in spring.
For more information on PIT, visit: https://rivcohhpws.org/
For more information on the youth PIT, visit : https://rivcohhpws.org/
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Caption: Second District Supervisor Karen Spiegel volunteered to count homeless individuals.
Caption: Riverside Community College Professor Thatcher Carter and Tanya Torno from Department of Housing and Workforce Solutions met with homeless individuals.