Community groups clean up encampments along Kern River, offer resources for homeless residents

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A call for assistance came in recently to Clinica Sierra Vista’s street medicine team from people who live on the Kern River. No, not in a house, but in a tent. They asked for some help in cleaning up some of the homeless encampments along the river in Central Bakersfield.

Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, along with volunteers helped with the cleanup efforts Saturday morning.

Members of Clinica Sierra Vista’s street medicine team were joined by other service providers and members of Keep Bakersfield Beautiful as they fanned out and got to work, helping those who wanted it, and bypassing those who didn’t.

Volunteers with Clinica Sierra Vista and Keep Bakersfield Beautiful showed up to help the effort and say their work Saturday was about more than picking up trash and debris.

“It’s about caring for those who need to be cared for,” Elisa Queenan of Clinica Sierra Vista’s street medicine team said. “You can tell a lot about a community by how they care for those who society deems least worthy. And for the majority of communities, that is the homeless.”

Steve Schiavone and several other homeless residents who live there urged Mayor Goh to find a way to install some industrial-grade trash receptacles along the stretch of the river, also known as the “Uplands on the Kern.”

“There are still some good people left in town that have a little bit of compassion,” Schiavone said. “We all have hope that one day we’ll get out of this hole, but you know, nothing’s going to happen overnight.”

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