Riverside County to count homeless veterans

RIVERSIDE – Finding out how many military veterans are sleeping on the streets in Riverside County will be the goal of a walking survey today in locations countywide.

The Department of Public Social Services will deploy personnel into multiple communities beginning at 6 a.m. to identify homeless veterans.

The ”point-in-time count” is being funded by a $45,800 grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Though a federal initiative, the effort dovetails with local programs intended to end homelessness among former service people.

Last spring, the Board of Supervisors formed the Veterans Assistance Leadership of Riverside County — VALOR — committee to implement measures aimed at providing assistance to dispossessed vets, among other things.

A 2013 canvass identified just under 300 veterans living in transient camps, under bridges and in temporary shelters, according to county officials. Previous surveys have estimated as many as 900 homeless veterans in the county.

The survey will enable local agencies to gauge what resources and services are required to help veterans get off the streets, officials said.

More information is available at www.RiversideHomelessCounts.com.

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