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Riverside is rolling out more plans to address homeless concerns

By in Press Enterprise on June 17, 2017

By Alicia Robinson

Riverside officials plan to move ahead with programs to provide jobs, health care, and other services to the city’s homeless while also searching for places to build permanent housing.

Proposals include expanding medical services provided by the nonprofit Health to Hope clinic, starting the first five participants in a job readiness and training program and pairing Loma Linda University students with the city’s homeless outreach team.

An added bonus? None of the programs will cost the city anything, at least for now, because they’ll be covered by grants, Riverside Deputy development Director Emilio Ramirez said.

The council will vote on whether to proceed with the plans Tuesday, June 20.

In 2016 city officials laid out an ambitious list of solutions to homeless issues, which council members say are the top complaint they hear. Residents are upset about homeless people hanging out in city parks and near businesses, sometimes aggressively panhandling and leaving messes.

Two of the more common attitudes in Riverside and beyond seem to be that offering services attracts and enables people who choose to live on the streets, and that homelessness is a complex issue that can be solved by providing homes and services.

Riverside’s homeless population dropped from 2015 to 2016, but as of this year’s one-day count, it had rebounded by 50 percent to 389 people, nearly where it was two years ago. Riverside County figures showed a 21 percent increase in unsheltered people between 2016 and 2017, according to a city report.

Some officials point to the success of a focused effort in 2015 that by the end of that year got all the city’s homeless veterans into housing.

Among the proposals to be considered Tuesday is one that would give Health to Hope more space for its medical services on Hulen Place, which houses the emergency shelter and […]    

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