The City Council approved a Homeless Action Plan on Tuesday (10/11) evening, capping months of research, outreach and listening to the community to create a comprehensive approach to reducing homelessness in the city.
The plan previously had been the subject of intensive work by the Council’s Housing and Homelessness Committee, as well as the City’s Office of Homeless Solutions. Approval of the plan came after the urging of several members of the community, including some who work closely with individuals experiencing homelessness.
“While there is still much work to be done around homelessness, Riverside is working to address this very serious challenge,” shares Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson. “This statewide problem continues to impact our residents, businesses and the community at large. Approval of the Homeless Action Plan reflects Riverside’s commitment to making wise investments and holds us accountable with measurable results.”
The plan includes specific goals for preventing homelessness; increasing housing production with a focus on affordability; increasing the availability of services, with a focus on physical, mental health, and substance use disorder treatment; increasing availability and effectiveness of emergency shelter; a coordinated regional infrastructure of services; and expanding public awareness.
Each goal has specific targets for progress. For example, the housing production goal calls for increasing the inventory of affordable housing units by five percent and ensuring that 90 percent of expiring affordable housing covenants are maintained, among others.
In terms of increasing services, the target is to reduce homelessness among chronically homeless people by five percent and reduce by five percent homelessness among people struggling with substance abuse. Regarding emergency shelter, the target is to increase the number of emergency shelter beds by 25 percent in 2023 and decrease the number of unsheltered people by 10 percent.
The plan was reviewed and commented upon at several community meetings to get input from low-income residents in danger of becoming homeless, as well as service providers who interact with people currently experiencing homelessness. Feedback also was gathered from people who are currently homeless and people who have been homeless in the past. This feedback process is expected to continue as the plan is implemented to ensure relevance with changing conditions.
“This plan is the result of a thorough and inclusive approach to involve a wide range of our community in addressing the biggest issue of our day,” said Councilmember Erin Edwards, who chairs the Council’s Housing and Homelessness Committee. “The time we have taken has been worth it to get a plan that is detailed with specific goals and targets.”
The plan, with its goals and specific targets, can be found here.
More information about how it was formed can be found by clicking here, and scrolling down to #17.
The plan aligns closely with the 2022-2027 County of Riverside Homeless Action Plan.