Hitting the streets in groups of three or four, Robert Gonzalez and his team were among 550 volunteers physically counting people living in unsheltered areas of Riverside County on Tuesday.
“I can’t imagine being homeless and cold like the people we have seen here. We need to help the people in our community,” said Gonzalez. The Highgrove resident spent the morning reaching out to those less fortunate, hoping to make a difference. “Do you need water or a blanket?,” Gonzalez asked a group of homeless individuals sleeping in a tent nearby.
The Riverside County Continuum of Care partnered with the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) to conduct the 2017 Point-In-Time Homeless Count and Survey (PIT). The continuum is a network of private- and public-sector homeless service providers.
The one-day count and survey is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine the region’s need for homeless services and guide in decision-making about how to use available resources. Important data was collected on the general homeless population and subpopulations of homeless veterans, families, youths and chronically homeless individuals. “It’s vitally important that we conduct our count so we have an accurate assessment of the needs of our homeless population,” said Lisa Shiner, assistant director of adult services for DPSS.
This year more than 550 volunteers deployed across the region to successfully count and survey the unsheltered population. Volunteer recruitment was encouraged among neighborhood and non-profit organizations, college students, faith-based institutions, community service clubs, and social-service providers. The survey results are expected to be available in early May.
Additional information can be obtained by calling the PIT hotline, (951) 358-3844 or by email at RivCoPIT@RiversideDPSS.org