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County Officials dispute story on homeless, inmates - more discussion at March 25 meeting

Updated: Mar 14, 2021

Desert Sun, March 12, 2021

Palm Springs city council leaders, on Thursday March 11, asked Riverside County officials to attend the next City Council meeting to discuss recent issues involving homelessness in the city. Concerns were sparked last month when the city's police chief alleged that the county had been transporting homeless people from other cities into Palm Springs.

Police Chief Bryan Reyes, who addressed council members during their Feb. 25 meeting, reported that the county was leaving homeless individuals, including some from the county jail, at Palm Springs hotels without notifying the city.

County officials, however, say that is not entirely correct and that what is actually taking place is part of a long-running social service program that began in 2004.

Thursday's meeting included a presentation from the Coachella Valley Association of Governments on the organization's Housing First program, which places homeless individuals in housing units across the Coachella Valley.


After more discussion Thursday night, Mayor Christy Holstege asked if Greg Rodriguez, a policy adviser to Supervisor Perez, who was present during council's meeting, could return March 25 to address the issue.

Holstege cited the late hour — it was 10:15 p.m. — and that council still had other items to discuss before concluding for the night.

Rodriguez agreed, but said that some of the statements made about what took place were not accurate.

"My only concern is that there's been a lot of comments tonight that are not necessarily factual. I would just hope the public would be patient, I'm more than happy to come back and do that, there's a lot of information I could clarify and a lot of data I could give you right now. I understand time constraints but I would just implore the council and the public to have patience and not take any comments away from what has been said to be… taken out of context," he added.

Rodriguez had previously discussed the hotel program on March 2, during the Desert Hot Springs City Council meeting.

"There is no bus, nobody is dumping people, the Palm Springs police chief spoke at last week's City Council meeting about a situation that they've run into," Rodriguez said.


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