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This Week in City Hall: July 24, 2023

City Council doesn’t meet this week. The Housing and Homelessness Committee reviews the latest data on people experiencing homelessness in Riverside.

Welcome to our weekly digest on public meetings and agenda items worthy of your attention in the next week. This guide is part of our mission to provide everyday Riversiders like you with the information to speak up on the issues you care about.

City Council

There is no City Council meeting this week. The next Council meeting will be Tuesday, August 1, 2023.

Housing and Homelessness Committee

The Housing and Homelessness Committee met Monday, July 24 at 3:30 p.m.

Infill Housing Development Strategies

Matthew Taylor, Principal Planner for the City, presented the committee with “infill housing development strategies and policy options.” The presentation outlined six potential strategies to increase new residential development. The first strategy introduced the goal of a new “Infill Development Ordinance,” which would update the city’s zoning code to “allow for development of existing lots that do not meet the current minimum development standards.”

Infill Development: Infill development encourages the development of underused or vacant land in existing urban areas to increase density and place new development near existing resources and infrastructure. (source)

Homelessness Action Plan Update

Lorissa Villarreal, the City’s Homeless Solutions Officer, and Michelle Davis, Housing Authority Manager, presented an update on the Homelessness Action Plan.

Every year the City and County of Riverside participate in a “Point-In-Time Count” to take an accurate count of individuals experiencing homelessness. The most recent count occurred on January 25, 2023, and identified 977 people experiencing homelessness. The City reports:

The Point-In-Time Count data tells us that on a single night in the City of Riverside, 605 people (a 17% increase from the 2022 PIT) were reported as unsheltered, while 372 people (a 9% decrease from the 2022 PIT) were sheltered. Overall, there was a 5% increase, as indicated by the 2023 PIT Count data.

The City also reported a 5% increase in affordable housing units over 2022, and 689 are in the development pipeline.

Department of Housing and Human Services

Our City Manager, Mike Futrell, proposed the establishment of a Department of Housing and Human Services, citing a trend in cities like Santa Barbara and Livermore here in California, centralizing their “efforts related to community stabilization.”

Futrell’s pitch was to “better meet the operation needs and demands associated with the Homelessness Action Plan, the City’s need and obligation to build housing,” the well-being of the Riverside Community. Futrell recommended proposing a Department of Housing and Human Services to the full City Council for discussion.

Board of Public Utilities

The Housing and Homelessness Committee met Monday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m.

Notable on the agenda was the review of a request for proposal for a master developer for the publicly owned former Riverside Golf Club, Ab Brown Sports Complex, and Pellissier Ranch Properties, which form a significant part of the Northside Specific Plan.