Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson and members of the City Council will convene a special hearing Thursday examining options for reducing homelessness and particularly its ongoing impacts to public safety.

The public is invited to attend and speak at the “Homelessness & Public Safety Workshop,” slated to begin at 1 p.m. in the council chamber at 3900 Main St.

Officials are seeking to implement policies that alleviate stresses on area public safety and medical resources tied to homelessness, according to a city statement.

In addition to municipal agencies, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and Riverside University Health System will have representatives on hand, officials said.

“Homelessness remains the biggest issue in Riverside, accounting for 4,445 total calls for service in fiscal year 2020-21, the most of any issue reported to the city’s 311 service,” the city stated. “Top causes of homelessness include the lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, mental illness, substance abuse and unplanned events, such as an illness, death of a primary income earner, divorce or disability.”

The most recent surveys indicate about 600 people are chronically homeless citywide, but the figure may underestimate the actual size, due to access limitations, according to officials.

One of the objectives of the interactive session will be to identify “options for lobbying the state Legislature to invest in state hospitals and correctional facilities to meet the needs of California’s population,” according to the agenda.

Residents unable to attend the workshop in person can watch it via www.riversideca.gov/meeting, or www.watchriverside.com/.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *