The city of Riverside and a local church have formed Project Connect, which will work to prevent homelessness among inmates freed from the Robert Presley Detention Center.
The partnership with Victory Outreach Church, approved by the city council on Jan. 17, will provide services to former inmates who describe themselves as homeless or on the verge of having no place to live, according to a statement on the city’s website.
“One of the most important things we can do to address homelessness is prevention,” said Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson in the statement. “We must work not only toward getting people off the streets, but also find ways to keep people from becoming homeless in the first place.”
One year ago, 20 percent of the homeless people who responded to Riverside’s point-in-time count said they had run afoul of the justice system.
That – along with national research that has shown people leaving jail or prison have a high risk of being homeless – led to the partnership with Victory Outreach, which has a history of working with homeless people.
Lorissa Villarreal, the city’s homeless solutions officer, will work with Presley Center inmates.
The program, which will seek to find jobs and housing for released inmates will be a collective effort among Victory Outreach, Riverside’s Office of Homeless Solutions, and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.