PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 investigated the issue of an increasing homeless population in the Valley back in November. On Wednesday, word of some real movement on the issue in the west Valley is announced.
"This year we have been looking at lots of different options for what to do with the situation in Palm Springs where we have seen an increase in unhoused people in our city," said Palm Springs City Council member Ginny Foat.
Foat said the city had already signed a contract with Riverside County to have two mental health professionals on hand for the homeless, and added an additional officer to the Homelessness Task Force who routinely patrols Sunrise Park where dozens of the "unhoused" spend much of the day.
Roy's Desert Resource Center will now be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week to help homeless individuals look for employment, find housing assistance, and gain critical job skills.
The center was originally intended to be a 24-hour shelter, but due to financial restraints, Foat said it became an emergency shelter where the homeless could eat dinner, wash their clothes and stay overnight. They would then be bused back to the city during the day.
"One of the frustrations with Roy's is that it was only open for people to sleep there and have breakfast," said Task Force member Joy Meredith.
The new program will offer a computer lab, lessons in resume writing and employment coaching. Help with benefits and long-term housing will be available too. The city told KESQ News Channel 3's and CBS Local 2's Katie Widner that the day program is not a once-size-fits-all solution, it will help those who take advantage of it.
"If somebody cares enough to get some computer skills, do their resume, follow up on their job training," said Foat. "That's somebody who really wants to get off the street."
Foat said the program is functioning off of roughly $75,000 from the city's general fund. In about three months, the city will re-evaluate how the program is doing and go from there.