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Riverside County seeking 700 volunteers for annual homeless count

Riverside County is seeking more than 700 volunteers for its annual Homeless Point-In-Time (PIT) Count scheduled for January 25. The annual count helps agencies respond to homelessness.

 Volunteers are encouraged to sign up now for the annual survey of homeless adults and youth in cities and unincorporated communities throughout Riverside County.

Volunteers from community-based organizations, churches, and other groups will fan out across Riverside County’s 7,300 square-mile landscape alongside staff from the county and all 28 cities.

Training is required prior to the count. Volunteers must also have a smartphone or tablet to conduct the survey, be able to walk up to two hours, and must be 18 or older. Volunteers ages 16 and 17 must be accompanied by an adult.

“To obtain an accurate count, we need participation from those who know their communities,” Laura Gonzalez, social services planner and PIT count coordinator, said. “Volunteers can sign up to survey individuals in their city of residence or another city of their choice. Volunteers will work with experienced providers to connect those in need to housing and social services.” 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities that receive funding from the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program, such as Riverside County, to perform the count. 

The CoC funds provide support and services, including housing, to provide immediate and long-term solutions toward ending homelessness. HUD CoC funding has been combined with other federal and state funding, such as No Place Like Home (NPLH), CARES, and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, to increase the total number of permanent supportive housing units by 300 units since 2019.  

Last year, volunteers counted 1,980 unsheltered individuals. Of those, 558 requested follow-up services and were subsequently referred for supportive services. 

The 2023 General Point-in-Time Count is scheduled for Wednesday, January 25. The Youth Count is scheduled for Wednesday, January 25, through Friday, January 27.

Volunteers can register at www.rivcohws.org/homeless-point-time-pit-count.

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