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Riverside County homeless population increased by 12 percent while growth rate decreased by 3 percent

May 9, 2023

The growth rate of homelessness in Riverside County decreased by 3 percent according to the annual Point-in-Time-Count. The decrease is a testament to the county’s investment in partnership with cities and local organizations.

The Jan. 25 count, was coordinated by the Riverside County Department of Housing and Workforce Solutions, in partnership with the County of Riverside Continuum of Care (a network of private and public sector homeless service providers), and cities.. More than 1,000 volunteers and homeless providers covered all areas of the County during the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandated count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations in cities and counties throughout the nation.

This year’s count reflected an increase by 409 individuals to a total of 3,725. In 2022, Riverside County experienced an increase of 15 percent in overall homelessness compared to this year’s 12 percent.  In comparison to last year, the number of individuals identified during the count residing in a shelter decreased by 4 percent (52 individuals) and those unsheltered increased by 23 percent (or 461 individuals).
The table below provides a breakdown of the results in 2022 and 2023:

Category           2022      2023

Unsheltered     1,980      2,441 

Sheltered         1,336     1,284

Totals               3,316     3,725
“While we strive for an overall reduction in homelessness overall, we are encouraged with the decrease in the growth rate and believe that it is a result of the many investments made on behalf of our county and city partners,” says Heidi Marshall, director for the Department of Housing and Workforce Solutions. The County’s investments have included significant federal funding from the CARES Act and ARPA into housing, prevention, and support of our community service providers.

Count teams included outreach workers, housing navigators, and case managers. Riverside County Sheriff deputies, and police officers from cities throughout the county who regularly work with people experiencing homelessness were key in supporting volunteers and identifying areas where unsheltered residents live.
“This extra effort was necessary to complement the count’s ‘More Than a Count’ initiative, a local effort inspired by the County’s Board of Supervisors, which aims to engage residents and connect them to services, especially shelter on the day of the count,” said Tanya Torno, deputy director for the Riverside County Department Housing and Workforce Solutions-Continuum of Care.

As part of the More than a Count initiative, count volunteers, identified an elderly couple   with medical conditions who were street homeless behind a supermarket. The Department of Public Social Services-Adult Services Division staff, who were part of the count teams, connected them to emergency shelter through a motel voucher and created a housing plan for them using a permanent Housing Choice Voucher. The couple has been successfully housed and linked to medical services.

“When we serve homeless seniors and connect them to housing, we don’t just give them shelter; we give them a reason to believe in a brighter future,” said  Supervisor Karen Spiegel, Second District, who participated in the street-based count along with her district team. “We give them dignity to live out their golden years.”

If you or anyone you know is experiencing homelessness in Riverside County, call 800-498-8847 or email [email protected].