Idyllwild also has some homeless

Last week, Riverside County’s Department of Public Social Services released the results of its 2018 winter homeless survey.

In January 2018, the survey identified 2,310 homeless county residents, 96 fewer individuals, or about 4 percent less, than identified in January 2017.

The count identifies both individuals seen on the street and those who took advantage of county or city shelters. This year, the number of unsheltered individuals was 1,685, an increase of about 2.8 percent from a year ago. The unsheltered count in 2017 was about 20 percent greater than the 2016 count.

Counties throughout Southern California have observed increases in unsheltered homeless this year.

For the second-consecutive year, the number of homeless taking advantage of shelters declined. In January, 625 individuals were counted in shelters compared to 768 last year. The drop of 143 represents about 18 percent fewer homeless in shelters and continues the 5-percent decline in 2017.

This January, fewer shelters were available than a year ago, according to the DPSS report: “The decrease in the number of homeless people staying in emergency shelter or transitional housing is mainly due to the closure of Roy’s Desert Resource Center emergency shelter in June 2017 and the reallocation of HUD funding from two transitional housing programs: Martha’s Village and Kitchen, and ABC Recovery, both in Indio.”

The largest number of unsheltered homeless was in Riverside city, where 389 were counted this year. Jurupa Valley was the location of another 129.

Within the unincorporated areas of Riverside County, 102 individuals were counted as homeless and without shelter, of this total, 15 percent were in Idyllwild. In 2017, 10 unsheltered homeless were identified as living here.

Of the 15 individuals reported here for winter 2018, four were considered chronically homeless, but none of the 15 were composed of families. Seven were identified with alcohol use, six with drug use and five had some PTSD.

Despite having the greatest population of the county’s five supervisory districts, the 3rd District, which includes the Hill, had the fewest counted homeless — 12.7 percent. The 4th District, which is composed of the desert cities and east to the Colorado River, had nearly 30 percent of the total homeless.