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Temecula Homeless Double in Two Years

The homeless census shows 162 people are homeless in Temecula.

The number of homeless people in Temecula more than doubled in the last two years, according to a census.

In 2009, the county counted 69 homeless people in the city. This year, it counted 162, according to the county’s Department of Social Services.

The number counted in 2009 was down significantly from the 105 found in 2007, though this year’s total was still up about 154 percent from that number, according to the census.

Temecula had one of the 10 biggest homeless populations in Riverside County. The only areas with more were Corona, Indio, March Air Reserve Base, Mead Valley, Mecca, Moreno Valley, Nuevo, Riverside and Rubidoux. The census covered 44 areas plus various unincorporated areas.

The surrounding areas’ homeless populations increased more dramatically than Temecula’s.

It increased from five to 40 in Murrieta, one to 156 in Winchester and from none to 178 in Anza.

Temecula’s homeless population grew at almost twice the rate of the county’s average, according to the census. The county counted 3,366 people in 2009, and it found 4,321 in 2011, according to Ron Stewart, deputy director for the social services department. That’s only a 128 percent increase; Temecula’s increased by 235 percent.

Taking Temecula’s census

Ten homeless or formerly homeless volunteers guided nine volunteer census takers through Temecula in January. The guides showed the census takers where the homeless residents usually live, according to the department.

On the morning of the census, the city’s public works department sent a crew to clear out a homeless camp near Murrieta Creek south of Front Street and Temecula Parkway.

Several dozen people lived in the camps, but scattered when the city’s bulldozers began clearing the area, several people who lived in the camp said.

Some of the residents regrouped later that day behind a nearby liquor store. A few said the census takers found them. Most said they did not.

Homelessness in Riverside County

The bad economy is probably to blame for the county-wide growth of homelessness, said Stewart.

“Record unemployment and housing foreclosures made Riverside County one
of the hardest-hit areas in the state and nation,'' he said. “This year's
count clearly indicates the economic downturn has pushed more people out of
their homes and has left them homeless longer.''

The number of people identified as chronically homeless – on the street for more than a year or intermittently unsheltered four or more times in three years – had surged 160 percent, according to the census.

Between 2007 and 2009, the number of homeless veterans increased slightly from 13 to 14 percent of the total homeless population, and the number of homeless people with chronic health issues jumped from 22 to 29 percent, according to the report.

Of the 26 incorporated cities in Riverside County at the time of the
surveys, Riverside had the highest number of dispossessed people with 1,430.

A total of 2,184 homeless people lived in the unincorporated communities.

Point-in-time surveys were instituted by the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development in 2005 and are a condition of federal funding for homeless relief in localities.

The department receives about $6.5 million in HUD funds to support homeless programs annually from the department of housing, Stewart said.

About 200 volunteers and county staff conducted the surveys, he said.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Paul May 12, 2011 at 02:38 AM
Oh boy just what our once nice needs more homless. Oh yeah there are people who want to have a homeless shelter here to. Why not then we can have hundreds of them and watch our property values go up and up
TVOR May 13, 2011 at 04:17 AM
They're gonna be here either way. I would rather see them in a clean well maintained facility receiving any help they need to get back on their feet, if that's what they want to do. If they show no interest in becoming self sufficient and they are not suffering from some kind of psychological disorder, then they should be shown the door.
Popeye May 14, 2011 at 04:31 PM
I disagree that the bad economy is the reason for increase homeless. There are homeless in a good economy. What concerns me is the family support has been degraded. These people cannot turn to there families for help. This is a problem. For example the family with two children living in a shelter. Why don't they move in with there families?
Steven Norwin May 14, 2011 at 08:29 PM
BEWARE...In Novato, Ca, a suburb of affluent Marin County ABAG is insisting on over 5,ooo low and extreme low income housing to be build in the middle of numerous moderat & wealthy neighborhoods. They are saying Marin county is too white and we need to provide for the people who cannot afford to live here but work here. The last time they built this kind of housing was about 3-4 yrs ago with about 5000 units mostly in the same area. It's now crime infested with drive by shootings and drug busts and major gang activity.
Steven Norwin May 14, 2011 at 08:30 PM
CONTINUED We've seen this town go from sleepy safe rolling hills to graffitti , drive by shootings, drunk driving without a license to home invasions and I could go on & on. They said teachers, police officers, firemen, and your local store owner would be the ones living in this assisted living. We are now finding out that the thugs who live in these mis managed low income housing are from Oakland, Richmond, and SF hunters point. All high crime towns. They never held a job in their life and have been shipped in to fill in the housing paid for by the Tax payer. Their friends now come to visit and do their crime here because the goods are more valuable. The town is trying to fight this but we may not be so lucky. Please don't let it happen where you live. The more houses built the more money ABAG gets to put in their pocket. It's all $$$$ greed $$$$ and they are leaving what were once beautiful palces to live polluted with crime and filth. Please google ABAG and Novato and you will get the picture. Say NO to ABAG!!!
TVOR May 16, 2011 at 03:44 AM
A friend of mine was recently approved to live in the low income housing that was built in Temecula. He is a 20 something caucasion male with a new wife and a newborn daughter. This guy works in the Temecula Valley but has had to commute from an other county to work. This low income housing will help him to reduce his commuting costs to very little as well as spend his hard earned paycheck in our local community. This is the kind of people who will be served by these kind of projects. He tells me the process to be accepted is rigorous with no felons accepted. He had to be employed and have good credit. Very low income housing may be a different story but I think the people of a city should be able to vote on any project of this type after seeing exactly how the acceptance process is set up.
Michele Clark Powell June 11, 2011 at 05:49 PM
As for the homeless in Temecula... OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE... there has been a growing population of homeless here for about 8 years and the current economy and total lack of affordable rents has made it rise considerably. All you have to do is LOOK. They are everywhere. Of course I spent 3 years living on the streets so I always see what most don't but it's all really there, right in front of you. My point is that Temecula can not afford to be as pretentious as it used to be. The economy has taken care of what was left to stick your noses in the air about. Businesses disappear everyday here and no one fills the spot, homeless are everywhere, the melting pot gets bigger and the crime is rising... deal with it. This is just another small city like any other, except we have A LOT more trees, stop signs and stop lights (which we DO NOT need!). If city workers can spend 8 straight hours a week just on my street then there are too many trees and if it takes an extra 3 minutes to drive a mile due to new stop signs and lights then there are to many.... spend the money on more important things and maybe you can get this city back in shape. Or don't and continue to kid yourselves. And BTW... the graffiti is being done by the well off kids... not the homeless. The very bored kids of THIS community. Maybe Temecula can spend a few bucks on something not religious based for the kids to do around here?!

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