BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A new report details the current homeless population and statistics in Kern County.
The report said most homeless people on the streets in 2020 are now in shelters.
That report by Bakersfield Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative shows that more than 50% of people who are homeless live in homeless shelters. There’s been an increase of 300 people in shelters since the last report was made in 2020. This brings the total to 875 people across the county who live in homeless shelters and unfortunately 10% of those people are children.
The ‘Point In Time’ (PIT) report says in total there are 1,603 homeless people in Kern County. 167 are children and 95 are veterans.
“Homelessness continues to be a steady number in our community but the big, exciting component is that we have a lot more folks going into shelter than we ever have before,” Anna Laven the executive director of Bakersfield Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative said.
The report also said 360 homeless people suffer from ‘serious mental illness’. While 501 have ‘substance use disorders’.
72 are counted as ‘survivors of domestic violence’ and three of them are unsheltered.
Groups that work directly with the homeless community like Flood Bakersfield Ministries said this is a big success and shows proof beds in shelters are being used.
“The additional shelter beds have been a great resource for us in the community and there are some folks who are going to be shelter resistant and we’re working on plans to address those folks,” Jim Wheeler the executive director of Flood Bakersfield Ministries, Inc. said.
Laven’s organization wants to provide as many options to homeless people as possible. For some, shelters just don’t work so there needs to be alternatives.
“Essentially it comes down to this,” Laven said. “We may as a community have to tell someone who is experiencing homelessness, we can’t have you over here for a variety of reasons, but we can offer you options over here.”
Laven with the Bakersfield Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative said even though there is progress it’s not enough. They won’t be satisfied until everyone has a permanent home.
You can follow this link to read the full 2022 Point in Time Count Report.