There is rarely a city in the Coachella Valley that isn’t looking to address the growing homeless situation in some fashion. There is a reason.

The 2019 count of people who are without a home in Riverside County shows a 21 percent increase compared to 2018. In all, volunteers counted a total of 2,811 individuals who are without shelter compared to 2,310 in 2018.

“The record-breaking number of volunteers, along with paperless surveys helped the effort cover a wider area in the short amount of time allotted to do the count,” Natalie Komuro, assistant county executive officer of Homeless Solutions, said in a prepared statement. “This updated information helps us understand where we need to stay the course on certain programs, while addressing the increased numbers of newly homeless people in underserved areas.”

Annual homeless counts provide a snapshot of homelessness. Due to the challenges in finding homeless people, however, actual numbers of those individuals without homes may be higher.

This year, in partnership with the University of California Riverside (UCR) Computer and Engineering Department, data on the 2019 Point In Time was analyzed for Riverside County’s five supervisorial districts. Four districts saw increases in the unsheltered homeless count. District 5, which includes Moreno Valley, Perris and Banning saw a decrease in its homeless count.

Find the full PIT count report, including city-by-city data on by clicking here.

The Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) has commissioned the Point-In-Time count since 2005, when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) first required Continuum of Care to conduct a homeless PIT count.

The “PIT Count” is federally-mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to count and survey the sheltered and unsheltered homeless population in cities and counties throughout the nation, including Riverside County.

HUD defines sheltered homeless persons as adults, children, and unaccompanied children who, on the night of the count, are living in shelters for the homeless; unsheltered homeless are defined as those who reside in places not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings, or on the street.

DPSS and UCR will continue to analyze the data to better understand trends in the count and provide additional easy-to-use data sets for cities.