RIVERSIDE – Robert Gerenrich is unemployed and one of many Valley residents hit hard in these tough times.
“I was in the streets and sleeping behind the place where I go pray and they let me sleep on the carpeting behind where I was praying. I had no food, I didn’t have many clothes, they took me in. They got me off the streets,” says Gerenrich about being accepted at a local shelter.
The feds chipped in around $2 million to complete construction on the West Valley’s homeless shelter in North Palm Springs.
Riverside County Supervisors drew up a shopping list of projects, and they’re getting $175 million of federal money.
“We’re going to spend a lot of money constructing things,” Robert Field with the county’s Economic Development Agency said Tuesday.”It will keep construction workers employed. It will also spend money retraining construction workers into the other fields of work.”
Local projects include $40 million for Coachella Valley freeway improvements.
In Desert Hot Springs, $4.6 million for the purchase of 60 two bedroom townhomes for low-income housing.
North Shore Yacht Club, located at the Salton Sea, gets a $3.5 million facelift and remodel.
College of the Desert and other county community colleges get a total of $4.4 million.
In Indio, a new fencing project worth $61,924 will be built for the county Juvenile Hall.
In Palm Springs, $2.4 million for Desert Resources Center, a large homeless shelter, and counseling center will be set on McLane Street.
In Banning, $959,500 will be used for a new parking lot at the county jail.
In Indio, $14,000 will be used for Miles Avenue road widening project work. In Bermuda Dunes, $19,972 will be used for a drainage project. And in Mecca, $552,861 will go to anirrigation line relocation.
But the County’s “stimulus czar” says the federal money will spread around the local economy, not just for construction workers. “We really want to see people get back to the point when they can be buying again from the neighborhood grocery store, the local appliance store, or anything else so that we can get these guys going again too,” says Field.
But for those who are already unemployed and now homeless, this large North Palm Springs warehouse is now federally funded, home to one of the few places they can still get help.
“They’re not just giving you the rooms off the street, they’re trying to get you into a program, they’re trying to help you out,” says Gerenrich.
The county’s website outlines how they’re spending their federal stimulus money. It can be found at www.rivcorecovery.com.