RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Governor Gavin Newsom is pledging to distribute 100 emergency trailers for homeless people to move into temporarily and 15 of them will be sent to Riverside County.

The announcement was made on February 19, during his State of the State address. The governor visited Path to Life Ministries emergency shelter and Riverside’s Access Center in January during his weeklong homelessness tour.

"No longer can we volunteer our support," Governor Newsom said. "No longer can we encourage a response to this. We need to mandate it. We need accountability. We need to own this. And we need to own up to our responsibility to do more and do better.”

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In an effort to respond to homelessness, the governor signed an executive order, which included the creation the California Access to Housing and Services Fund. The move expedites the availability of state lands assets to temporarily house the homeless and directing the Department of General Services to supply 100 camp trailers from the state fleet and Emergency Medical Services Authority to deploy modular tent structures to provide temporary housing and delivery of health and social services across the state.

This news is exciting for Casey Jackson and Nadia Solis. Jackson is the interim CEO of Path to Life Ministries, a non-profit that serves homeless people in Riverside County through its 10 programs. The nonprofit offers three program shelters in the City of Riverside and have a number of housing programs throughout Riverside County. The organization is part of a partnership between faith based organizations, nonprofits and the city of Riverside that collaborates with student interns in its Love Your Neighbor Collaborative.

“If we can find alternatives until they can get back onto their feet or even just creating bigger versions of this where they can spend long periods of time, it would be absolutely amazing,” says Jackson.

Solis is a Loma Linda University student who is interning for the non-profit. She helps the team by providing outreach, mental health assessments and connects people on the street to resources in the community.

“I wanted to make a change in the way that I saw things. The best way I knew how to do that is through learning about it so I can be a part of the change,” says Solis. 

Path of Life’s emergency shelter holds at least 85 people on any given night. According to the County’s last homeless count in 2019, more than 2,800 people were found and identified as homeless. That number is a 22 percent increase from 2018.

While there are homeless families and adults who are looking forward to receiving help from the emergency trailers, there are others who don’t want the help for one reason another. Jackson says there are barriers that prevent houseless individuals to feel motivated to accept assistance. Many programs that help homeless people require them to hand over important personal information, agree to check-ins and monitoring and only allow them to stay in programs for only 60 to 90 days.

“That just isn’t long enough and it is traumatic to constantly move. I don’t know about the last time anybody else moved, but it takes a lot of work and you’re uprooting and having to resettle. To do that every 90 days, until you finally get to a permanent place to stay or if you get that permanent to stay could be an additional burden,” says Jackson.

While there are many houseless individuals who are reluctant to receive help, the ones who accept the support they’re given reaffirms Path to Life Ministries’ mission for Jackson and Solis.

The emergency trailers are expected to arrive in the county by early March. County leaders are currently working on the location to place the trailers. The city of Riverside is also working on a palette housing project that is scheduled to open sometime this year.