The Desert IndependentTM
Serving Blythe and the Desert Regions of the Southwest Since 2001
New data shows homelessness decreased in Riverside County
April 19, 2018
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif – The number of homeless people in Riverside County decreased by 4 percent compared to a count last year. This year’s “point in time” count totaled 2,310 adults and children, compared to 2,406 in 2017. This year’s federally mandated count in Riverside County was conducted the morning of Jan. 23. As in previous years, approximately 500 volunteers teamed up with outreach staff and experienced professionals from more than 130 agencies to canvass pre-identified areas.
The survey counts unsheltered and sheltered homeless people. This year’s survey showed a 19 percent decrease in the number of sheltered homeless and a 3 percent increase in unsheltered homeless – a 4 percent decrease overall. The slight increase in Riverside County’s unsheltered homeless count (3 percent) is trending with other southern California counties that also experienced increases. Of the county’s 28 cities, 15 had increases in their unsheltered homeless count, while 13 show a decrease or no change. The cities with increases are:
Additionally, there was a 13 percent increase from 2017 among those who were unsheltered and reported they were chronically homeless as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To meet that definition, people must have a disability and have been homeless continuously for one year, or at least four times in the last three years, totaling one year.
The Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) has commissioned the homeless count since it was first required by the HUD in 2005. The data will be used to understand the extent and scope of homelessness in Riverside County and is a tool to help the community plan and adjust its response.
DPSS Director Susan von Zabern said, “The survey and count are barometers for county jurisdictions and cities to consider next steps in the effective delivery of homeless services.”
Organizations that shelter individuals and families generally compile information that is submitted to HUD, along with the unsheltered count. The data will eventually become part of an annual report to Congress on the effectiveness of HUD’s programs. A breakout of each city and unincorporated area is attached HERE.
A summary document and additional detailed reports are available on the DPSS website: http://dpss.co.riverside.ca.us. Contact Jill Kowalski, homeless programs manager, at JKowalsk@rivco.org for more information on the count.
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