INDIO, Calif. - Riverside County is facing an increase in homelessness for the first time in six years.
The Riverside County Department of Public Social Services recently released the 2017 Point-In-Time Homeless Count Data Report Summary, showing an increase of 11.45% in the overall total number of homeless people counted from 2016 to 2017 in the county.
Read the rationale behind the countywide increase below:
The largest increases in homeless population by city were:
- Beaumont - 80%
- Cathedral City - 63%
- Coachella - 37.3%
- Corona - 53.6%
- Desert Hot Springs - 53.6%
- Palm Desert - 47.4%
- Palm Springs - 66.3%
- Riverside - 57%
- San Jacinto - 72.2%
- Temecula - 129.7%
The largest increases in homeless population in unincorporated areas were:
- Bermuda Dunes - 400%
- Romoland 66.7%
- Thousand Palms - 183.3%
Check out our special report 'Countdown to Crisis' as a vital homeless shelter is set to close, airing this Thursday on KESQ at 6PM
It's a big increase across Riverside County, but an even bigger increase for the Coachella Valley homeless population. Those who work for local relief programs said they're seeing the demand.
Darla Burekett, Director of the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission in Indio, said, "We're getting more and more requests for assistance, more, more, more, so we feel it...and it's validated by the count."
A count of 2,413 homeless in Riverside County, nearly 500 of them reside in the Coachella Valley.
According to the study released by Riverside County, Palm Springs homeless count jumped 66 percent in 2016.
With the pending closure of Roy's Desert Resource Center in Palm Springs, local relief groups are calling it a crisis.
"We're about to have 60 more of those people out on the streets that we know of. We see the parks in Palm Springs fill up. We see people coming here being dropped off by police, who want help, but they have nowhere to go," said Burkett.
The county also saw an increase in homeless youth by 122 people.
"We contacted all of our public school districts and we're horrified to find that their stats combined show that they have 423 students currently enrolled in public schools who are homeless or at risk," said Coachella Valley Housing Coalition Executive Director, Julie Bornstein.
Homeless advocates are reminding the community of the community resources.