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Podcast Reveals Young Woman’s Fight to Reduce Homelessness

For Immediate Release

January 25, 2021

Media contacts:
Gene Kennedy
(951) 203-0343, gkennedy@rivco.org
Angela Maria Naso
(951) 660-1925, anaso@rivco.org

Podcast Reveals Young Woman’s Fight to Reduce Homelessness
Riverside County advocate shares her story hoping that her experiences will inspire change

Monique Guerra struggled with homelessness from the time she was just 5 years old until college. Now, at age 23, Guerra is sharing her personal experiences on theServiceStation podcast, to raise awareness and inspire change in Riverside County.

“I remember us moving around a lot and looking for people we could stay with,” recalls Guerra. “We didn’t say we were homeless but that we had ‘tough times.’ My parents struggled to maintain jobs and housing. They dealt with mental health and addiction issues.”

On the bilingual podcast, Guerra shares her struggle with housing instability, which nearly prevented her from attending college until she got a call from the director of the Guardian Scholars program.

She encourages volunteers to sign up for the 2022 homeless Point-In-Time Count on Feb. 23 and specifically the Youth Count, which is scheduled from Feb. 23-25. Volunteers can register for either count at MoreThanACount.org.

The Guardian Scholars ultimately helped Guerra find a safe home through a transitional housing program, which helps foster and homeless youth break the cycle of abuse and poverty.

“A lightbulb went off that it’s ok to ask for help. You’ve got to have housing before all else,” said Guerra, a homeless youth specialist at Riverside County’s Department of Housing and Workforce Solutions.

Guerra is using her personal experiences to advocate for teens and young adults who are confronting housing instability. Knowing how many are living on friends’ couches, in shelters, and on the streets is important to bringing vital resources and solutions to local communities.

The Point-in-Time Count offers a snapshot of all sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals across the county. The federal government uses the data to determine funding levels, assess regional needs and monitor local progress in reducing homelessness.

This year, there is an emphasis on not just counting the number of homeless individuals, but also connecting them to resources, housing and other wraparound services.

This episode and all previous episodes of “theServiceStation” are available for download in English and Spanish on all major podcast platforms and at www.rivcodpss.org.

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