Volunteers and officials spread out across both counties in the inland region last week, in an annual mission to quantify the status of homelessness in the Inland Empire.
During the 2018 Point-In-Time Count volunteers, local and state officials spanned out across every city and unincorporated community in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties to obtain and record a picture of homelessness in the region. This effort is essential to securing the state and federal funding necessary to provide assistance to these individuals, while also identifying and implementing solutions to homelessness.
During the Point-In-Time count, volunteers seek to identify homeless individuals by sub-groups, so officials are better able to target assistance programs. These include chronically homeless individuals or families, veterans, persons living with HIV/AIDS, persons with mental illness, substance abusers, unaccompanied minors, youth between the ages of 18 and 24, and victims of domestic violence.
In addition, San Bernardino County has launched a special effort—the first of its kind in the nation—that is especially focused on assisting unaccompanied homeless women. This segment of the homeless population has finally been identified as particularly vulnerable. A large percentage of these women, some experts say as many as 90 percent, are believed to be survivors of some form of child abuse, while many of the others are believed to have experienced some type of personal tragedy later in life, such as rape, domestic violence, or drug abuse.
Last year’s Point-In-Time count revealed a 21 percent year-over-year increase in Riverside County’s homeless population. San Bernardino County, on the other hand, experienced a 1.1 percent decrease over 2016. The official results of last week’s counts will be available in March.