The Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) Homeless Programs Unit has commissioned the bi-annual homeless counts since 2005, when a count and survey was first required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This year, DPSS will organize the event using volunteers from the community, county agencies and nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless population.
The federally mandated count takes place every year in late January. In January 2014, DPSS received funding through the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs to do a special count of homeless veterans.
DPSS is recruiting about 400 volunteers at community meetings countywide. Prospective volunteers can register and receive information at www.riversidehomelesscounts.com. Volunteers must be willing and able to walk into areas where homeless people might be living, and conduct the brief survey on streets, in abandoned buildings, at freeway overpasses and underpasses, in vehicles, encampments and other areas. The survey is scheduled from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Volunteers are also being sought to go to places where homeless people may be receiving services, such as soup kitchens, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Each volunteer will be required to participate in a 90-minute orientation. A schedule of orientations throughout the county is available on the website.
In 2013, 2,098 homeless people were identified in Riverside County during the annual survey.
For more information, please send an email to RivCoPIT@RiversideDPSS.org or (951) 358-4470.