Last month we told you that Kern County’s homeless population had doubled in size since the previous year.
The total number of homeless counted in January: 1330. A large jump from the 885 counted in 2018. But, more community members also volunteered to help count.
“For the first time in this process, we had local volunteers representing their own communities. they know where homeless people are, they know how to engage them and they know where to find them,” said Heather Kimmel, Homeless Collaborative.
According to the Homeless Collaborative, the largest number of unsheltered homeless were found in Delano where 39 were counted.
The collaborative also pointed out that this year Northwest Bakersfield had a surprisingly high homeless number.
“Historically we don’t count that many people in this area, but this year we counted 25,” said Kimmel.
And to answer everyone’s question: Are people coming to Kern County who are already homeless?
“The data shows that 83 percent lived in Kern County before becoming homeless,” said Kimmel.
They say only 17 percent were homeless when arriving in Kern County.
The collaborative’s presentation continued with an update of their 10-year plan. The plan is made up of six objectives:
Objective 1: Establish a coordinated entry system
Objective 2: Prevent homelessness
Objective 3: Improve economic security, health stability of the homeless and those at risk
Objective 4: Ensure that emergency shelter, traditional housing, and interim housing beds are adequate
Objective 5: Increase the affordable housing inventory for individuals and families
Objective 6: Broaden and strengthen community support for ending homelessness
The group identified the current gaps and success they have accomplished in each.