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Local News

Homeless outreach teams deployed in Riverside

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Ryan Railsback
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Riverside Police Department
Workers with the Riverside Saturation Engagement Day team speaking with a homeless individual.

Riverside police officers, mental health workers, and others went throughout Riverside on April 6 to conduct outreach to the local homeless community.

Riverside called it their Saturation Engagement Day, an ongoing effort by the city to get more homeless into transitional housing or detox facilities. "We go out there, and they're just contacting as many homeless people as they can. If there needs to be some cleanup, that will happen, we'll call public works out, but primarily we're looking to see if we can get some people off the streets," said Riverside Police Department Public Information Officer Ryan Railsback.

Railsback says this is the third time they've done the engagement and that they had over 50 individuals helping with the process.

When asked if the homeless are receptive to help, he says, unfortunately, most aren't initially. "On average, it could take you know between 50 and 100 contacts with one person; before they are ready to accept these services," Railsback said.

He says that if someone is ready for help, Riverside is prepared. "There is a very good likelihood you can get into some type of assistance, whether that's substance abuse, mental health, transitional housing... you could go with them, they could put you in a van and take you and start that process," said Railsback.

Besides the engagement day, Riverside also has a public safety engagement team that provides the same services and interacts with the homeless population seven days a week.