RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif.— Volunteers are encouraged to sign up now for the 2022 Point-in-Time Count, an annual survey of homeless adults and youth in cities and unincorporated communities across Riverside County.
More than 700 volunteers are needed for the 2022 count, which is scheduled for Jan. 26. Volunteers from nonprofits, churches and other groups will fan out across Riverside County’s 7,300 sq.-mile landscape.
Organizers say widespread participation from those who know their communities and who can communicate with the homeless is essential to obtaining an accurate count.
“This truly is a community effort” says Laura Gonzalez Rivera, Social Services Planner. “During the count, we will also aim to help homeless individuals by providing direct linkages to services and referrals to beds available at shelters.”
The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires communities that receive funding, including Riverside County, to perform the count. The funds provide support and services, including housing, to help end homelessness.
“This count is vital for Riverside County to ensure we are heading in the right direction towards reducing homelessness” said Riverside County Board of Supervisors Chair Karen Spiegel, who represents District 2. “The information we collect allows us to make informed decisions about where our resources should be targeted”.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and precautions, the large-scale count could not be completed in 2021, instead a sheltered count was conducted where data was gathered based on shelter bed occupation.
“We are excited to start recruiting and training volunteers for the 2022 count. The safety and well-being of our volunteers and staff is a priority so we are working with the Riverside County Department of Public Health and will be following safety measures to resume the count in full scale” Gonzalez Rivera said.
Training is required prior to the count. Volunteers must also have a smart phone or tablet to conduct the survey, be able to walk up to two hours and must be 18 or older. Volunteers ages 16-17 must be accompanied by an adult.
The general Point-in-Time Count is scheduled for Wednesday Jan. 26 while the Youth Count is scheduled Wednesday Jan. 26 through Friday, Jan. 28.