City Council to consider approving $2.9M for operation of new homeless shelter

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The Bakersfield City Council is expected to appropriate $2.9 million to Mercy House this week for the first year of operating the city’s new emergency homeless shelter. 

During its Wednesday meeting, the City Council will consider approving a three-year operation contract with Mercy House as well as $46,000 in start-up costs. According to the contract, Mercy House would be paid $2.9 million a year, for a total of around $8.7 million across the initial three-year contract, paid for using Public Safety Vital Services funds. 

The contract would take effect July 1, according to the city. 

Mercy House, an Orange County-based nonprofit that operates other homeless shelters and housing facilities, was chosen by the city as the shelter operator last month. The city said it chose the nonprofit based on its shelter experience, reputation and competitive bid for the project.

“Since April 8th, Mercy House has participated on nearly daily teleconference calls with city staff to provide insight, guidance and assistance in finalizing the internal remodel and layout of the new facility,” Development Services Director Christopher Boyle said in a memorandum. “The insights provided by Mercy House to date have proven critical in designing a facility that will achieve the stated objectives.”

The city’s homeless shelter will be located at 1900 E. Brundage Ln. and is expected to open on Oct. 26. 

Wednesday’s 5:15 p.m. board meeting will not be physically open to the public due to COVID-19. To view a livestream of the meeting, visit https://bit.ly/3b6RZBQ or your local government channel (KGOV 2).

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