Homelessness group highlights efforts to combat the issue in Kern County

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Homelessness is a growing problem in Kern County, but there is room for some optimism for the homeless population in the county.

Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and the Kern County Homeless Collaborative presented a video on efforts to get people into housing in the face of a significant increase of homeless living on the streets.

The annual Point-In-Time Homeless Count Data was released earlier this month.

On Jan. 25, nearly 150 volunteers spread out across Kern County for the annual count.

Results showed a 9 percent overall increase in Kern’s homeless population. 

Eight hundred eighty-five people were counted in total during the survey.

More concerning, however, was the population in Metro Bakersfield where 309 people were counted — a 46 percent increase from last year.

CEO Louis Gill of the Bakersfield Homeless Center says for many of them, mental illness is also an issue they’re dealing with.

“Behavioral health is recognizing many of the people that we are serving are homeless, also are dealing with some mental health issues so this is very much in line with providing best services possible,” he said.

The video is an effort to highlight the efforts being made to combat homelessness and how the county can further efforts.

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