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Riverside County board approves $416,000 in state funding for Desert Hot Springs homeless shelter

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve $416,219 in state funding that will allow the city of Desert Hot Springs to continue operations at its homeless "access hub."

The funding is part of an agreement for the County's Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program, which outlines that scope of services the City will provide.

The shelter on Hacienda Ave., which opened in October, has 26 overnight beds and offers wrap-around services, case management, meals, showers, a daytime cooling and warming center, employment resources, and street outreach.

In September, the Desert Hot Springs City Council approved an agreement for $290,000 from the City's general funds to have Martha's Village and Kitchen operate the hub for three months, from October 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023.

The City of Desert Hot Springs requested the funding to support the navigation center for an additional 6 months up to a 12-month period if needed, while the City works on a longer-term and sustainable solution for operations, according to a County staff report.

In January, City Manager Frank Luckino said it would cost over $1 million a year to continue to operate the hub at its current levels.

"I was in a meeting yesterday with the Mayor Mr. Matas and he did mention about the fact that eventually they're going to have to think about resources, funding to continue this," according to Supervisor V. Manuel Perez at Tuesday's board meeting. He added that while he applauds the City for wanting to move in that direction, he's also "concerned obviously that a year from now, two years from now, that there might not be any support, funding streams available for them."

The new funding comes as homelessness has increased rapidly in recent years. During Riverside County's 2023 Homeless Point-in-Time Count (PIT), Desert Hot Springs had the third largest unsheltered count in District 4, according to a County staff report. Data from the Homeless Point-in-Time Count also shows it more than doubled from 2018 to 2023, from 58 people without housing in 2018 to 122 in 2023.

Watch News Channel 3 at 5:00 p.m. tonight for more on the story.

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3


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