Cook & Schmid has been chosen by Riverside County's Department of Public and Social Services to challenge preconceived notions of homelessness, generate support from the community and direct those in need to the 211 hotline or the new county Web site: riversidehomeless.org. The campaign is titled, "The homeless. They're not who you think."
According to Riverside County figures, more than 4,500 people sleep on the streets on any given night in Riverside County. Besides the typical factors for chronic homelessness, other factors, ranging from the economy and home foreclosures to domestic abuse, are leading to episodic homelessness.
The campaign employs a variety of tactics ranging from focus-group message testing, brand-building and Web site development. Additionally, the campaign will implement outdoor, print, radio and television advertising to increase call traffic to the 211 hotline and the new site. "Conventional perceptions toward homelessness need to be challenged in order to build community involvement and end the cycle," said Jon Schmid, a partner at Cook & Schmid. "Having worked with homeless programs in the past, we know what works and how to engage the citizenry to support worthy programs like this."