Official: County’s Sheltered Homeless Count Results Expected in April

Connor Forbes
Connor Forbes
4 Min Read
Riverside County has decided to alternate its annual count of unhoused residents, with this year determining how many are sheltered. Next year will count how many are unsheltered.

County’s Sheltered Homeless Count

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Riverside County agencies completed a “sheltered only” homeless survey in lieu of a comprehensive count, and the results are due out in April, officials said Friday.

The Board of Supervisors decided last May to shift to biennial Point- In-Time Surveys, which involve canvassing all possible locations where homeless people may be trying to live, outdoors and indoors.

The next comprehensive count is slated for January 2025. However, the county Department of Housing & Workforce Solutions\, in concert with other agencies, went ahead with a sheltered PIT, and according to Executive Office spokeswoman Brooke Federico, that entailed visiting “all (homeless) shelters to measure occupancy.”

The census was conducted on Wednesday countywide, she told City News Service.

The final results are expected to be processed and published toward the end of April.

“While we are not conducting an unsheltered count in 2024, we are intensifying our response to homelessness based on the data and knowledge acquired through the 2023 count, along with previous counts,” Housing & Workforce Solutions Director Heidi Marshall said. “We remain as committed as ever to addressing this crisis and amplifying our efforts to support those in need.”

The 2023 survey, which occurred last January, showed a 12% increase in the county’s homeless population compared to 2022. According to the results, the estimated countywide homeless population was 3,725, compared to 3,316 recorded previously.

The number of chronically homeless people who are unsheltered was 2,441, while the sheltered total was 1,284, according to the report. The latter figure dropped 4% year-over-year, while the unsheltered number shot up 23%.

The lack of affordable living space remains on the front burner of most homeless assistance programs in the county and state.

“Affordable housing is a critical tool used to ensure rents remain affordable for individuals and families,” HWS said. “According to the 2022 Riverside County Housing Need Report, renters in Riverside County need to earn $34.44 per hour — 2.3 times the state minimum wage — to afford the average monthly asking rent of $1,791.”

The survey showed that supervisorial District 1 had the greatest number of homeless — 1,184 — and within that district, the city of Riverside counted more homeless than any other municipality in the county at 977.

District 4 had the next-highest total of homeless at 1,161, and the majority of those were unsheltered. The district encompasses the Coachella Valley and eastern desert. Indio had the largest homeless population there, tallying 427.

Volunteers for the 2023 survey engaged people living in cars, abandoned buildings, under bridges, in transient encampments, homeless shelters and other places.

Data are used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine how to distribute federal homeless relief funding.

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