The City of Ripon does not have a continual population of homeless persons living within the community. The City will experience a periodic influx of homeless persons which will cause our numbers to increase or decrease as they travel from City to City within the County and surrounding areas. We also see the same members of the homeless population at specific times of the year, usually in correspondence to the weather or other area activities.
For a variety of reasons, the City of Ripon does not have a large population of homeless persons as compared to other communities. During the 2018 Time in Place study that was conducted, it was noted that Ripon had 11 homeless individuals at that time. When the study was conducted again in 2019, Ripon had 7 homeless individuals. Based on Ripon Police Department contacts and incidents, the number of homeless individuals living in Ripon is still believed to be 7.
When officers come into contact with a member of the homeless population within our community the following goals are sought:
- Inquire if temporary assistance is needed, and if assistance through our Voucher Program would help.
- Direct to social services that are already in place within the City and County.
- Advise of City Ordinances pertaining to Panhandling/Begging, Urinating and Defecating in Public, Illegal Camping, etc.
Since 2016 the Police Department has given out 123 vouchers to homeless, transient, and/or persons in need under our Helping Hand Community Outreach Program, with a majority having been issued in the most recent years. Through this program officers can use discretion to issue emergency shelter, transportation, food and gas vouchers to persons in need. A majority of the vouchers issued through this program are for food and/or gas, followed by temporary shelter, and then lastly transportation. The funds to operate this program are gathered through donations from Ripon residents and local service organizations.
In 2017 the Chief of Police issued an internal written directive on the Department’s Voucher Program to allow more flexibility and discretion for use and established community partnerships for temporary short-term shelter for those in need. This directive also included specific requirements that must be verified prior to providing assistance with transportation requests outside of our city.
In 2019 the Chief of Police visited and toured several locations outside our community that provide social services to the homeless and other persons in need.
Since September of 2018 Police Detectives and the District Attorney assigned to South County as the Community DA have worked together to address a minimum of 5 continuous homeless offenders, with the goal of support and rehabilitation.
Police Department staff has also been working and collaborating with staff members of San Joaquin County Behavioral Health Services to provide help and assistance to our homeless/transient populations that suffer from mental health issues. At times no further action is required after an initial consultation, and other times persons have been admitted for mental health treatment.
Police Department staff is also partnering with county agencies to conduct homeless outreach events within our community.