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River Assessment Field Team

Twice Weekly River Survey Team

Guided by a staff person, RAFT volunteers help document the condition of the riverbed.

Surveys are conducted on Tuesdays, Fridays and other days as needed. Teams are trained to collect data using our custom smartphone app and data visualization, which informs future community river clean-ups and our efforts to support programs working to reduce the number of people living in the riverbed.

Recently, teams have documented an increasing number of people living in the riverbed. Data collected is used to raise awareness about the number of people needing assistance and provided to public agencies and social service providers. Sometimes, our teams will help care providers find the best route to hard to find encampments. Our hope is that everyone has the opportunity to receive available resources, a dry, safe bed to sleep in and a brighter future. River Assessment Field Team Data: click here.


You can help by volunteering, donating or advocating for additional attention for this often unseen part of our community.

New volunteers are encouraged!

If you are interested, you can learn more about this program on our volunteer website, or by contacting our office at 619-297-7380 or by email.


In addition to our week day teams, we organize a comprehensive census of the people living in the 20+ miles of the Lower San Deigo River three times annually. More than 130 people are engaged in this activity each year! If you are interested in joining us, please let us know.


The next census will be part of the regional Point-In-Time Count know as WeAllCount, and occurs from 6 - 9 am on Thursday, January 25, 2024. Volunteers will be guided by experienced leaders to enumerate the number of people living in the riverbed and conduct surveys. Data will help inform the funding our region receives to address homelessness.

Learn more about this volunteer opportunity by clicking here.


Our strategy to reduce the number of people living in the San Diego Riverbed:

1. Collect data. Share this data to increase awareness of the population of people that live in the riverbed and to support multiple agencies addressing these issues.


2. Treat people as people. The people living in the riverbed are members of our community. We start from a value that all people should be respected. We seek to help people by connecting them with services that can help them start on a road to getting away from living in floodprone areas.


3. Collaborate. We actively seek partnerships to be part of the solution. The people living in the riverbed are often called "those that are hardest to reach." That has been our experience. It requires constant effort, innovative strategies and data to make a difference.


If you are interested in learning more, please let us know. Our dream is that one day no one will find themselves living in areas that flood, without potable water or restrooms, and in terribly unsafe living conditions.



Help us keep the River beautiful for the next generation.
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