(RIVERSIDE, CA) — In a public hearing on Riverside’s $1.24 billion budget last Thursday, the most vocal reaction among the 40 attendees was about the $96 million invested in Measure Z, a plan to create anti-drug/gang programs and reduce homelessness. Edward Enriquez, named city manager four months ago, said the meeting’s purpose was to explain the use of state tax revenues. “One of the major objectives this year is to reduce the number of homeless on the streets, that task is taking a lot of time, work, and funds,” said Henriquez.
Sighs were heard in the room when Kristie Thomas, finance director, explained the $96 million invested in Measure Z, as required by the state senate, aims to reduce the number of homeless in Riverside. Thomas displayed slides with graphs and percentages reflecting the $75 million invested in the building of shelters for homeless and homelessness assistance programs. As of May of this year, a total of 3,725 homeless live on the streets of the city of Riverside.
Other residents asked the city to consider other program assistance. Mary Beth asked the Public Works Department for a plan to mitigate the feral cat problem. “I wish they invest more money in supporting animal service organizations,” said Beth, a volunteer at the TNR Goldware Senior Community Cats.