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Home / Impact / Riverside receives over $4M for project to assist homeless youth

Riverside receives over $4M for project to assist homeless youth

by City News Service
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More than $4 million in Project Homekey funds will be awarded to the city of Riverside for acquisition of housing and safety net services for homeless youth, it was announced Wednesday.

“The city’s commitment to reducing homelessness focuses on preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place,” Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson said in a statement. “We know young people, particularly foster youth, are vulnerable and at high risk of becoming homeless, which is why these funds are so critical to our overall strategy of addressing homelessness.”

The $4.37 million allocation is part of a $156 million statewide funding distribution announced Tuesday by the governor’s office.

Project Homekey, which was initiated during the COVID lockdowns, is a spinoff of Project Roomkey, which was intended to reduce congregate shelters in preference to rooms or other individualized settings where the risks of transmitting contagions is less.

The program finances additional building types and supports a broader population of people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness, according to Riverside officials. About $400 million remains to be awarded during this current funding round.

“Homekey continues to demonstrate that we can build quickly, and at a fraction of the usual cost, to deliver much-needed affordable homes for Californians struggling to find a place to live,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “There’s still more work ahead, but the state is taking proactive measures, from implementing accountability standards to offering incentives, to confront this housing crisis head on.”

The city will use the funds to procure up to five homes, containing 25 units or rooms, for the placement of area residents who are 18 to 21 years old and dispossessed or at risk of homelessness, according to municipal officials.

Among those who will be eligible for assistance are foster and former foster youths, along with parenting or pregnant girls and young women.

The city is partnering with Riverside-based Walden Family Services for the Housing for Transitional Youth Project.

The effort will bundle housing opportunities with educational counseling, job training and life skills coaching, officials said.

“We know from experience that pairing services with shelter is the recipe for success in helping people get off the streets,” Councilwoman Erin Edwards said in a statement. “This is especially true of young people, who can avoid becoming homeless altogether if they have the right housing and guidance at this crucial point in their lives.”

The California Department of Housing & Community Development is providing the funds. 

“It has been greatly rewarding to see the growth and impact of Homekey on California’s most vulnerable residents,” agency Director Gustavo Velasquez said in a statement. “To me, the 14,000 homes funded through Homekey represent more than just buildings. They represent real people exiting homelessness more quickly, and the opportunity for housing stability to greatly improve their quality of life.”

Statewide, outlays will cover a dozen projects in six counties, for the creation of 556 affordable housing opportunities, according to the Housing & Community Development Department.

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