High Speed Rail Authority says Kern County’s homeless shelter site sits in way of rail line

Bakersfield

California’s High Speed Rail Authority said it has a problem with the county’s site for a new low-barrier homeless shelter.

In a letter to County Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop, HSR’s Regional Director called the shelter site “disconcerting.”

HSR Regional Director Diana Gomez told the county it was surprising to learn of the homeless shelter site, that it was never discussed with the rail authority before.

Gomez urged the county to make changes to ensure the site doesn’t conflict with the bullet train’s rail alignment. She also argued that building a brand-new homeless facility now, that will need to be moved in the coming years, would be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

County Communications Director, Megan Person said the county will move forward with the shelter. 

“The talk about the high speed rail has been going on for 20 years. So the county is just saying we are not going to be holding our breath anymore,” said Person. “We have a crisis that we need to address. we understand we’re in the pathway. We’re moving forward and when the time comes for the high speed rail to move through that location.” 

Person mentioned because the county’s low-barrier shelter is designed to be temporary, they call it a “sprung structure” and it could be moved at any time in the future. This shelter is not the county’s only answer to the homeless problem, but it does address immediate needs.

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