BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Housing Authority of the County of Kern today announced it has been awarded 229 emergency housing vouchers for the homeless from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The vouchers provide 18 months of funding and are renewable for those that remain in housing during the entire period. They also include funding for case management support, a vital service that helps prevent homelessness recidivism so that individuals and families remain in their homes.

The vouchers are funded by the American Rescue Plan, which provides more than $1.9 trillion in relief to address the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Housing Authority looks forward to working with BKRHC to implement this program and help our neighbors experiencing homelessness transition to permanent housing,” said Stephen Pelz, executive director of the Housing Authority and chair of the Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative executive board. “We continue to see increased demand for homeless services and support. These vouchers could not have come at a more important time.”

BKRHC Governing Board Chair Deborah Johnson said the vouchers have the ability to significantly impact homelessness in Kern County.

“Our challenge is finding available housing units for voucher recipients. We must double down and expand housing inventory in the City of Bakersfield and Kern County if we want to see assistance programs like these EHVs succeed,” she said.

To be eligible for the emergency housing vouchers, individuals or families must be:

  • Homeless
  • At-risk of Homelessness
  • Fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking
  • Recently homeless and for whom providing rental assistance will prevent the family’s homelessness or having high risk of housing instability, including clients in rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing programs

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