The Riverside County Department of Public Social Services is encouraging volunteers interested in participating in this month’s Point in Time Count to sign up online by Monday, Jan. 20.

Registration can be completed at rivcoexchange.com. Volunteers who have already signed up are participating in 2-hour training sessions this week. On Wed., Jan. 29, trained volunteers accompanied by law and code enforcement teams will and fan out to count unsheltered adults and youth in cities and unincorporated communities.

“We are looking for 700 volunteers. Right now, we have about 500,” Laura Gonzalez-Rivera, the department’s coordinator for the count, said. “We’re asking anyone interested to sign up now.”

DPSS is training Riverside volunteers in person Wednesday morning and afternoon. The media is invited to attend.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires communities that receive funding for homeless programs, including Riverside County, to perform the Point in Time Count, which serves as a snapshot of homelessness in local communities.

To participate, volunteers must have a smartphone or tablet to download and use the Survey 123 app. Volunteers must also be able to walk up to two hours and must be 18 or older. Volunteers ages 16-17 must be accompanied by an adult.

“We’re expecting a lot of participation. We will offer tips and guidance on how to conduct the count, including an understanding of the app we use for the survey,” Gonzalez-Rivera said.

As an incentive to complete the survey, volunteers will hand out bags with various items to help the homeless keep warm in the cold winter months. The event will include counting individuals and families who are living on the streets, in encampments and those living in cars.

“With help from deputies, volunteers will visit known locations where the homeless live in cars,” Gonzalez-Rivera said. “We’re putting more focus on this so as many people are counted as possible, including those who may be in hard-to-reach areas.”

Some volunteers will count homeless adults during a single-day event, while others will count homeless youth under age 24 in the afternoons and early evenings Jan. 29 through Jan. 31. Organizers say homeless youth in Riverside County is an undercounted population. They are looking for more volunteers who have experience working with youth.

The Point in Time Count is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020 from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. The Youth Count is scheduled Jan. 29-Jan. 31 from 2 to 8 p.m.

Riverside volunteer training sessions are Wednesday, Jan. 15, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at 1111 Spruce Street in Riverside.

Submitted by Riverside County Department of Public Social Services