Riverside activates program to help inmates risking homelessness
Detainees released from the Robert Presley Detention Center in downtown Riverside without a place to sleep and at risk of homelessness will now have options to keep them from living on the streets.
The Riverside City Council on Tuesday approved an agreement with Victory Outreach Church to manage a new “Reentry Services” program aimed at helping released inmates avoid homelessness.
The program budget is $280,216 for the current fiscal year. All of the funds will be made available via a pass-through account from the Riverside County Department of Housing & Workforce Solutions, which receives homeless aid grants from the federal and state governments.
“One of the most important things we can do to address homelessness is prevention,” Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson said. “We must work not only toward getting people off the streets, but also find innovative ways to keep people from becoming homeless in the first place.”
Under the agreement, Victory Outreach Church staff, in coordination with the city’s Office of Homeless Solutions, will assist individuals released from RPDC with finding lodgings, as well as potential employment opportunities.
Officials said roughly 20% of those people surveyed in last year’s countywide Point-In-Time Survey, which attempts to gauge the size of the chronically homeless population annually, indicated that they had been in the criminal justice system recently.
The county runs a separate program, Riverside Inmate Destination Endeavor, or RIDE, serving all detention centers, offering detainees vouchers to utilize taxis to their homes or other locations so that they don’t end up on the streets after being released from lockups.
The program has served thousands since it was implemented in 2014.