The City of Riverside Gets $4.3M to Combat Youth Homelessness

By: Sharjeel Sohaib

• 

Nov 8, 2023

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  • The City of Riverside has been awarded $4.375 million in state funds, a substantial grant to address youth homelessness.
  • The funding is part of a bigger $156.4 million allocation by the state of California to expand housing options for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
  • The City of Riverside is partnering with Walden Family Services for this project.

The City of Riverside has recently been awarded a significant grant of $4.375 million in state funds. This funding is part of California’s broader effort to tackle homelessness, with Governor Gavin Newsom announcing $156.4 million in grants for housing expansion for those at risk of homelessness. Riverside’s project, unique in Inland Southern California, aims to create 25 housing units for homeless or at-risk youth.

Targeting the Vulnerable: Riverside’s Focus on Youth

Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson emphasized the city’s commitment to combating homelessness, particularly among vulnerable groups like young people and foster youth. This initiative reflects a strategic approach to preventing homelessness by intervening early, especially for high-risk people.

Partnership with Walden Family Services

The city plans to collaborate with Walden Family Services on this project. This partnership aims to offer comprehensive support to young individuals, including those who are pregnant, parenting, or exiting the foster care system. 

The project involves purchasing single-family homes and converting them into Single Room Occupancy (SRO) units. To foster self-sufficiency, these units will provide shelter and essential services like case management, education assistance, and job and life skills training.

The Bigger Picture: Statewide Efforts and Impact

Mayor Pro Tem Erin Edwards underscored the effectiveness of combining housing with support services, particularly for youth. This approach aligns with the broader state initiative under the Homekey program. Homekey, an extension of Project Roomkey launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, focuses on creating diverse housing solutions for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The program has already funded 14,040 homes across California.

Governor Newsom and HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez highlighted the program’s success in delivering affordable housing solutions quickly and cost-effectively. The Homekey initiative is a testament to California’s proactive stance on the housing crisis, with about $400 million still available in the current funding round.

Riverside’s Recent Efforts in Community Development

In the past two years, the City of Riverside has been active in various projects aimed at improving community welfare and economic growth: For instance:

  • Infrastructure Improvements: Initiatives to upgrade roads, public transportation, and utilities to enhance connectivity and livability.
  • Economic Development Programs: Efforts to attract businesses and create jobs, focusing on sectors like technology and manufacturing.
  • Environmental Sustainability Projects: Implementing green initiatives, including renewable energy projects and conservation efforts.
  • Educational and Cultural Initiatives: Enhancing educational facilities and promoting cultural activities to enrich community life.
  • Public Safety Enhancements: Investing in law enforcement and emergency services to ensure public safety and preparedness.

Wrap-up

The City of Riverside’s recent grant and collaborative project with Walden Family Services is significant in addressing youth homelessness. 

This initiative and other developmental projects over the past two years illustrate Riverside’s commitment to building a resilient, inclusive, and prosperous community. As these projects unfold, they promise immediate relief for vulnerable groups and long-term benefits for the entire region.

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