Ending Veteran Homelessness in Riverside
In June of 2014, the President challenged U.S. Mayors to end homelessness amongst veterans by the end of the year. The program was accompanied by special vouchers and support, funded by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA), to assist in the mission. The City of Riverside was proudly the first mid to large sized city to meet the challenge, through dedicated outreach and implementation of the Housing First approach.
The Power of Partnerships
Upon examination of the factors that led to our community’s success, I began to reflect upon how we could end homelessness amongst other groups. This begged the question, who would provide support similar to that offered by HUD and the VA , to those homeless that are not veterans. Through prayer, the answer became clear to me and the faith leaders I had been in communication with, and the Love Your Neighbor initiative was created.
As a group, we set a vision to reach functional zero in homelessness by 2025. It did not take long before the group realized that one of the largest challenges facing our region as we work collaboratively to address homelessness is a lack of resources. Specifically, to solve homelessness there is an immediate need to increase monetary donations (Giving), housing (Assets), and high-skilled and highly trained volunteers (Partnerships).
From there, the group crafted a plan of action and outreach began. Over 70 organizations responded to my invitation to the launch event at a Faith Summit, which occurred in the fall of 2017.
Members of th e Love Your Neighbor initiative are actively meeting with faith-based organizations to explore how each entity can contribution to ending homelessness in our city and region. Faith-based organizations are being asked to prayerfully consider how they can partner by providing rental assistance, utility support, transportation, in-kind skilled support, housing, or employment opportunities.
Donations to the Love Your Neighbor initiative can be made to the Riverside Ending Homelessness Fund, to Path of Life Ministries, or directly to a faith-based organization. In all instances, please note Mayor’s Love Your Neighbor Initiative with your donation.
To learn more about how your organization can partner with the Love Your Neighbor Initiative, please contact the Office of the Mayor at 2Mayor@RiversideCA.gov.
The long-term success of the Love Your Neighbor Initiative will depend on the effective use of high skilled, highly trained volunteers. Below are some training materials (with more to come), please find those that are best suited for your specific faith-based organization.