Non-profits, churches and government agencies teamed up Tuesday in Lake Elsinore to provide the homeless with assistance in housing and other aid before a camp is shut down in Lakeland Village.
The Riverside County Housing Authority, along with the Lake Elsinore Pathway Project, organized an event titled, “One Stop Service Fair” held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at Lakeside High School in Lake Elsinore. The fair was open to anyone seeking government aid including the homeless in the encampment. A variety of resources was available under one roof in an effort to speed up the application process as well as to provide education on qualifying for services.
Riverside County Housing Authority sponsored transportation and provided a bus that circled around the lake free of charge. Lunch was also provided to participants and bags of toiletry items were available for pickup.
Supervisor of Special Projects for the Riverside County Housing Authorities, Rick Pettet, said 60 to 70 people showed up, some he thought he would never see asking for help.
The closing of the camp is leaving many of the long-term homeless with little options besides asking for help from local agencies.
“Now that they know they will be forced to move those who were resistant are coming to us for help,” Pettet said.
“The main reason we are holding this event is because we don’t want anyone who qualifies for benefits to not get benefits,” Pettet said.
The event was meant to be a hub to connect resources like the Department of Motor Vehicles, social services, housing authority, mental health, substance abuse, educational organizations, etc.
“We also are here to help people budget for daily living or getting help pushing past mental roadblocks,” Pettet said.
“The city is trying to find ways to help the homeless. Churches have been setting up in parks in Lake Elsinore trying to feed the homeless but residents aren’t always pleased with this type of help,” Nicole Daily said public information officer with Lake Elsinore.
“We would like to have something in the city more permanent when it comes to feeding the homeless,” Daily said.
Rev. Cameron Lemons said the goal of the Pathway Project he helps lead is to do more than feed the homeless but to create a path for other homeless people to become motivated toward independence. The road to self-sufficiency is paved with help from various services and mentors the homeless may not know exists.
“Today was a kickoff event to make the services more accessible for all of the community,” Lemmons said. “We are thrilled with today’s event.”
City Manager Grant Yates said, “We are a city with a heart for the homeless and to help those who need help receive it.”
Property owners of the land where the homeless camped out received a court order June 30 to allow authorizes to enter the site and clean it up. The homeless will also be evicted in the cleanup process by the end of July.