200 county personnel and volunteers to count homeless population

RIVERSIDE – On Monday, around 200 county personnel and volunteers will fan out across the county from dawn to dusk today to count Riverside County’s homeless population.

The biennial homeless count is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to gauge the amount of funding for indigent assistance that should be allocated to local and state welfare agencies, county officials said.

The county’s 2009 tally revealed 3,366 people were living on the streets.

The county Department of Public Social Service’s theme for this year’s census is ”Let’s Make Everyone Count,” with emphasis on locating homeless veterans, youths and families, according to the agency’s deputy director, Ronald Stewart.

”Recently, homeless shelters have been at or near capacity,” he said. ”That could mean people are out of other options, or the homeless population is on the rise. I hope the count will answer some of those questions.”

Stewart said the effort will entail using ”homelessness guides” who are familiar with places frequented by transients, including parks and underpasses. Counters will also visit all of the county’s public and private homeless shelters.

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