Riverside County Approves State Funding Boost for Desert Hot Springs Homeless Shelter

In a unanimous decision, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors has greenlit $416,219 in state funding to bolster operations at the homeless “access hub” in Desert Hot Springs. This injection of financial support underscores the county’s commitment to addressing homelessness and providing essential services to vulnerable populations.

The funding, secured through the County’s Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program, solidifies the City of Desert Hot Springs’ capacity to sustain the shelter’s operations. Situated on Hacienda Ave., the shelter has been operational since October, offering 26 overnight beds and a comprehensive array of services. These include wrap-around services, case management, meals, showers, and a daytime cooling and warming center, along with employment resources and street outreach programs.

The collaboration between the City of Desert Hot Springs and Martha’s Village and Kitchen, which began in October 2023 with a $290,000 allocation from the City’s general funds, has been instrumental in ensuring the hub’s functionality. The recent funding approval extends support for an additional six months, with the possibility of an extension to a 12-month period, pending operational assessments and planning for long-term sustainability.

City Manager Frank Luckino has underscored the financial challenges associated with operating the hub, estimating an annual cost exceeding $1 million. Supervisor V. Manuel Perez echoed these concerns during Tuesday’s board meeting, emphasizing the need for continued support and sustainable funding streams to uphold essential services in the long run.

The urgency of addressing homelessness in Desert Hot Springs is evident in recent data, which indicates a significant increase in unsheltered individuals. According to Riverside County’s 2023 Homeless Point-in-Time Count (PIT), Desert Hot Springs ranked third in unsheltered counts within District 4. Alarmingly, homelessness in the area more than doubled from 58 individuals in 2018 to 122 in 2023, underscoring the critical need for ongoing intervention and support.

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As Riverside County grapples with the complex challenges of homelessness, the approval of additional funding for the Desert Hot Springs access hub marks a pivotal step towards providing stability and support to those in need. The collaboration between local authorities, service providers, and community stakeholders remains paramount in addressing homelessness comprehensively and compassionately. Stay tuned to News Channel 3 for further updates on this evolving story.

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