RIVERSIDE (CNS) - The number of homeless people in Riverside County dropped 4 percent over 12 months, though several cities recorded sizable increases, according to a survey released today.
The Department of Public Social Services posted data from its Point-in-Time Survey, conducted in January, showing 2,310 dispossessed adults and children located throughout the county, compared to 2,406 a year earlier.
``The survey and count are barometers for county jurisdictions and cities to consider next steps in the effective delivery of homeless services,'' said DPSS Director Susan von Zabern.
More than 500 volunteers deployed to find homeless people under bridges, in parks, alleyways, dry river beds and shelters.The survey found 625 sheltered homeless and 1,685 unsheltered. Last year's figures were 768 and 1,638, respectively.
Despite the overall declines, 15 cities documented upward spikes in displaced persons. Rancho Mirage went from zero to eight homeless people, year-over-year. Among municipalities that have had homeless residents counted during every survey, Perris experienced the largest upswing in percentage terms, going from 29 people in 2017 to 95 people this year -- a 228 percent jump, according to figures.
In raw numbers, Riverside had the highest homeless count -- 366 -- but that represented a 6 percent decline from 2017, when 389 individuals were counted. Officials also recorded a 13 percent increase in the number of individuals who identified as ``chronically homeless,'' defined as people with disabilities who have been without a place to live for a year, or on the streets four times in the last three years, according to DPSS.
The complete survey, which is required by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development in order for counties and cities to qualify for homeless assistance grants, is available online at http://dpss.co.riverside.ca.us/files/pdf/homeless/2018-rivco-pit-count-preliminary-data-v1.pdf.