For several years, the City of Lake Elsinore has tackled key issues related to homelessness including feeding in the parks, solicitation, and encampments. But, there is MUCH more to do.
On May 23, 2017, the City Council approved the creation of Homeless Task Force to further the City's efforts to address homelessness. The Homeless Task Force is a working group of key community leaders eager to join the City in its efforts to reduce homelessness in our community.
Key Strategic Objectives
- Assess our homeless population to identify our needs and a targeted program to provide the support and assistance needed to get these folks off the streets.
- Communication and outreach program to educate residents, businesses, and the community to be a part of the solution.
- Create Community Collaborative to create connections amongst organizations and educate non-profits, faith-based organizations and others about how best to serve and help the homeless.
- Assess existing resources and conduct gap analysis for available local services and programs.
- Review, assess and create best practices for encampment cleanups.
- Review and update existing municipal codes regarding homelessness and solicitation. This includes identifying new municipal codes related to homeless prevention such as Donation Bins, Recycling Centers, etc.
- Develop programs or services by the City to help reduce homelessness such as citations, family reunification, etc.
- Compare and coordinate with other cities to ensure consistent efforts across boundaries.
- Clarify the city’s role and policies that can assist with homelessness in the long-term including development standards, affordable housing policies and regional efforts.
- Begin to create a local Housing Crisis & Response Team that aligns with the principles of Housing First.
Unfortunately, homelessness is a problem plaguing all communities across Southern California. While the City has been aggressively cleaning up encampments to put pressure on them to move on or get help, we need the community's and business' help.
One way you can help is by practicing Responsible Compassion (see below). This is a practice many other cities are adopting the encourages the community to HELP not HURT the homeless by truly making a difference for them rather than enabling them to continue to live on the streets.
- Task Force Created – Since June, 21 local community stakeholders have been meeting every other week to identify short and long-term solutions to address homelessness in our City and help those in need. Members of the Task Force include City Councilmembers Brian Tisdale and Natasha Johnson, City staff, Police Department, Chamber of Commerce, Riverside County District 1, Lake Elsinore Unified School District, and several representatives from our non-profit and faith-based community that are eager to help.
- Alert LE Reporting Options – The City created a new category for Homeless Concerns on its Alert LE mobile app where the community can report concerns related to municipal code violations occurring in our City including solicitation, illegal camping, and other public safety concerns. Reports using this app will allow the City to identify top problem areas, develop strategic objectives for these areas and better target our efforts as we move forward. So far, the community has responded and is reporting this information regularly and our Code Enforcement is responding appropriately when they can. Not all issues will be responded to immediately, but this reporting provides critical data about what and where concerns are taking place. You can download Alert LE in your mobile app store or you can report at www.lake-elsinore.org/AlertLE.
- Public Outreach – The City developed several informational materials to promote Responsible Compassion to our community. See below. Next, the City is working with the task force and our local Chamber of Commerce to create an informational packet of resources for our business community including signage for refusing service, no loitering or lingering and/or no panhandling.
- Homeless Assessment Tool – The City created a tool to assess our homeless population and the barriers preventing them from ending homelessness. This information will be critical for the City to find and implement the right programs and services to effectively help those in need.
- Community Collaborative – The City hosted its first Homeless Outreach Community Coalition meeting on November 2, 2017. This coalition is an educational and collaborative effort to assess and address the resources the City has, wants and needs to help those in need. From this, the City will create a list of available services and resources for those in need including housing, shelter, food, water, medical, veterans and much more. This list will be made available to the public once completed. Those that serve our community will be asked to join the City’s Community Collaborative that will meet regularly to coordinate the help and resources available in Lake Elsinore. View the PowerPoint and Survey Results from the meeting. The next meeting is planned for March 2018. If you would like to be included on our email list, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lake Elsinore Sheriff Department Changes – The Lake Elsinore Police Department has designated a team to deal with Quality of Life Issues 7 days a week. This team will be proactive in doing business & park checks, contacting the transient community to offer help or enforce any violations of law, panhandling issues, vandalism, etc., and respond to the calls for service associated with these types of issues. The City is currently working on hiring a new sworn deputy to assist in the City's efforts to address homelessness including enforcement and outreach.
- New Park Ranger - In September, the City hired its first Park Ranger to assist with homeless complaints, particularly municipal code violations on public property such as our parks and beaches.
- Hepatitis A Information - Based on recent concerns about Hepatitis A related to homelessness, the County of Riverside has created a Frequently Asked Document to address these concerns.
- Speakers Bureau - The City has developed a basic PowerPoint presentation that can be shared with local community members upon request. Help the City spread awareness about our efforts and what our community can do to help by hosting a special presentation for your organization. If interested, email Nicole Dailey at email@example.com.
The community is urged to practice Responsible Compassion with those in need in and around the community. We want to provide the right help in the right ways that will encourage people to tackle their barriers and end their homelessness.
The City is just getting started and there is much more to come in the weeks ahead including an ongoing effort to encourage our community to join us in truly combatting homelessness in our City.
For more information, please contact Nicole Dailey at (951) 674-3124 ext. 314 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.