Volunteers needed to join county-wide efforts to track the number of homeless
Members of faith groups, churches, civic affairs organizations, students and more are needed for Riverside County‘s homeless count in 2022, and officials asked today to all who wish to join the effort next month to register.
“This tally is vital for Riverside County to ensure we are moving in the right direction towards reducing homelessness,” said Board Chair Karen Spiegel. “The information we collect allows us to make informed decisions about where our resources should be targeted.”
The county would like to have over 700 volunteers available to find and verify the status of people who may be living in cars, under bridges, in transit camps, homeless shelters and other locations across the county.
“We are delighted to begin recruiting and training volunteers for the 2022 count,” said Department of Public Social Services spokesperson Laura Gonzalez Rivera. “The safety and well-being of our volunteers and staff is a priority, so we are working with the Riverside County Department of Public Health and will monitor safety measures to resume the full scale count. ”
The 2021 homeless census has been severely curtailed, with virtually no prospecting for known transitional living spaces, due to public health lockdowns linked to the coronavirus. The data was based only on interactions with shelters and did not provide an accurate representation of the county’s homeless population.
The January 2020 tally found that nearly 3,000 adults and youth were chronically homeless across the county, an increase of about 3% from the previous year.
No previous experience with spot counting is necessary to volunteer. The canvassing should take place from January 26 to 28. Some training is required, and although young people as young as 16 can participate, all minors will need to be accompanied by an adult, according to county officials.
Volunteers must also have a smartphone or tablet to conduct the survey and be able to walk for up to two hours.
“It’s really a community effort,” Rivera said. “During the count, we will also aim to help the homeless by providing direct links to services and referrals to available beds in shelters.”
The data is used by officials from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine how to distribute federal funding for homeless assistance, and by policy makers to determine the extent of homelessness across the country. national, including which approaches and programs work and which do not.
All those interested in participating were encouraged to register at https://rivcopitc2022-countyofriverside.hub.arcgis.com/, or https://rivcopitc2022-countyofriverside.hub.arcgis.com/pages/youthcount.