More than 60 homeless individuals who had been sheltering under bridges, in alleys and other spaces on the east end of Riverside are now in transitional housing, thanks to a program funded with federal money intended for coronavirus relief measures, officials said Wednesday.

The MAP Home Program was implemented four months ago as part of a targeted campaign to reduce homelessness along portions of Massachusetts Avenue, which runs north of UC Riverside, underneath Interstate 215.

According to the Riverside Office of Homeless Solutions, 63 transients who had been sleeping on or near the corridor were placed in temporary bridge housing and will be offered placement in long-term residential opportunities with rent credits and controls, as well as job training and other assistance.

“Getting more than five dozen people off the streets in a relatively short time is a remarkable achievement,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “We know that this work is just beginning, and to claim success, we will need to move these residents from temporary shelter to long-term housing. I look forward to our efforts to further assist people on the path to self-sufficiency while also keeping Massachusetts Avenue clear and safe.”

The city relied on federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act funding to pay for the resources needed to move the individuals into transitional accommodations, mainly in a facility on Hulen Place.

Officials said all of the transients were screened for COVID-19, and none tested positive.

“Helping someone who has been living on the street find a path towards a better life requires a comprehensive approach,” Councilman Steve Hemenway said. “I’m pleased to see that such an approach was utilized in this instance to ensure the best outcome and hopefully avoid re-occurrences here on Massachusetts Avenue.”

The Riverside Police Department, Riverside County Housing Authority, Probation Department and Department of Behavioral Health assigned personnel and expertise for the MAP Home Program, officials said.

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