New local nonprofit aims to help homeless, impoverished residents manage their own businesses

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County is expected to sign a lease agreement on Friday with a new nonprofit focused on helping homeless and impoverished residents in Bakersfield start and manage their own businesses. 

The signing with The Bakersfield Island will take place at 11 a.m. at Brookdale Riverwalk, located at 350 Calloway Drive. Co-founders Joe Desimone and Matthew Cruise say their new organization will be a partnership between local leaders and residents of Bakersfield. 

The nonprofit will operate at 1116 E. California Avenue as part of a 10-year lease with the county. The annual cost of the lease is $1, while the organization will be responsible for any required facility upgrades, maintenance and insurance. 

The Bakersfield Island says it hopes to have its first members within 30 days of signing the lease. More than 15 businesses will be able to operate out of the facility. 

Already, around 15 people have already committed to joining. The organization says it hopes to serve a minimum of 500 people in its first year. 

“They will have the vision to guide them, the energy to drive them, and the passion to exceed their human limitations,” The Bakersfield Island said in a news release. “They need a safe and supportive place to grow their own businesses.”

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