Most patients were released from mental hospitals in the 1950s and 1960s, yet vast increases in homelessness did not occur until the 1980s, when incomes and housing options for those living on the margins began to diminish rapidly.
An Action Plan to Address Homelessness in Riverside County has been created. All Cities in the Coachella Valley provided assistance. Below is the Executive Summary. The 2017 Point-In-Time Homeless Count and Survey (PIT Count) identified a total of 2,406 homeless individuals in Riverside County, an increase of 11% from 2016 (2,165). In addition, the total unsheltered homeless population increased by 21.2% from 2016 (1,351) to 2017 (1,638). According to the 2017 PIT Count, among the unsheltered homeless population counted, 12% (193) were under the age of 24, 6% (91) were Veterans, while 21% (341) were classified as chronically homeless.
The Executive Oversight Committee on Homelessness (EOCH)--with the support of staff from numerous county agencies, cities, and community-based organizations--has developed an action plan to address homelessness by applying evidence-based strategies and best practices to effectively meet the needs of specific geographic areas and subpopulations.
The action plan is intended to be a living document that requires ongoing development and updates based on the changing environment, community demands, and emerging opportunities.
The action plan focuses on three primary goals for addressing homelessness in the following Riverside County populations: youth, veterans, families, and chronically homeless individuals and families.
Goal 1 – Prevent homelessness among individuals and families at-risk of becoming homeless. Design and implement a coordinated prevention system to provide limited cash assistance, a wide range of free or low-cost supportive services, and/or supplies to those most likely to become homeless.
Goal 2 – End homelessness of single individuals and families who are living on the streets and in shelter and transitional housing programs. Design and implement a coordinated system of evidence-based Housing First, low barrier, and rapid rehousing (RRH) approaches to obtaining and maintaining housing of specified subpopulations in geographic areas with the greatest need.
Goal 3 – Ensure funding for a coordinated system to end and prevent homelessness among individuals and families. Identify a wide range of public and private funding opportunities to carry out the design and implementation of the coordinated system to prevent and end homelessness.
To achieve these three goals, the action plan calls for the implementation of four primary strategies, listed below, and establishes 23 recommendations.
Strategy 1 - Improve System Coordination
Strategy 2 - Increase Housing Resources
Strategy 3 - Increase Outreach & Navigation
Strategy 4 - Increase Supportive Services
It is acknowledged that additional measures and tracking tools will need to be developed to further measure the effectiveness of this plan toward ending homelessness in Riverside County.
As a starting point, the EOCH will partner with the County of Riverside Continuum of Care (CoC) to initially assess the system performance outcomes using existing reporting tools (including dashboards) in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
People who are homeless spend more time in jail than the general population due to violations of quality of life crimes, resulting from their homelessness. This is costly to taxpayers throughout the state and in cities with high instances of homelessness. Often, time served is a result of laws specifically targeting the homeless population, including regulations against loitering, sleeping in cars, and begging.