Riverside – The City of Riverside is moving forward with a new strategy in its quest to reduce its homeless population. An approach approved by unanimous vote of the city council last year is coming to fruition. The initiative is titled, Housing First.
Housing First seeks “to quickly and successfully connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness to permanent housing without preconditions and barriers to entry, such as sobriety, treatment or service participation.” requirements.
During Riverside’s most recent homeless count taken earlier this year identified about 400 individuals deemed to be chronically homeless currently within the city’s boundaries.
The Housing First initiative is about more than housing. It also considers and places added emphasis on living arrangements, job training and placement assistance and takes further steps to also connect these individuals with the broad range of services available in the region.
In support of this holistic approach to better serving the homeless, the city has engaged the support of key public agencies including the Riverside County Department of Behavioral Health and the Riverside County Housing Authority, in addition to the assistance of nonprofit organizations Path of Life Ministries and Step Up.
Such support programs are integral to the initiative’s success. However, the priority remains—Housing First.
The public, private and nonprofit sectors have coalesced and are working in partnership to move these persons into into permanent living arrangements for good. The strategy rests on the city’s ability to secure/create public residential housing opportunities including a major construction project.
The construction effort calls for the development of a multi-family, multi-story complex and at least 14 sites have already been identified as possibilities.
The city has completed a public comment period regarding the effort and must now consider their input in its final decision regarding where to develop the housing complex.
Detailed information about the city’s Housing First Program in general and/or to review details regarding the multi-family, multi-story complex development visit www.riversideca.gov/homelesssolutions/housing-first/. On the website you can also view Housing First projects developed in other Southern California communities.