BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It’s the annual survey of the unsheltered in Kern County. Hundreds of people who are living without a permanent place to call home have been filling out surveys across the county to give service providers a snapshot of our homeless population.
The Point-In-Time census is a crucial source of data that is used to obtain funding from state and federal sources.
More than 200 volunteers were gathered together to help run the Kern County Point-In-Time Count.
More than 800 homeless people were surveyed around Kern Wednesday morning.
That number still growing but to reach all these people, hundreds of volunteers were needed to do the job.
“In order to cover 8,200 square miles of Kern County that really requires the effort,” Anna Laven the executive director of the Bakersfield Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative said. “So we had about 60 teams to cover metro Bakersfield and at least 20 teams to cover our rural communities.”
Volunteers started before the sun rose. For some, it wasn’t their first rodeo but for many it was.
“I have participated in the Point In Time Count for about five years now,” Jessica Janssen a volunteer said. “Every single year when we come together to do the training they ask, ‘who’s first year is this?’ and every year there are so many people who raise their hand, it’s their first time. So word is spreading, word is getting out. There are so many people willing to participate.”
Everyone has their own reasons to volunteer. For one man, it’s because he’s seen family members struggle with homelessness.
“I really wanted to be a part of it because you see so many volunteers come out and really be a part of this nationwide effort,” Alex Garcia a volunteer said. “It really is a privilege to me and a lot of my partners out here to be a part of this endeavor. I personally have had family members touched by homelessness as well and there’s a lot of folks out there that are like my family and my uncle.”
Last year for the Point-In-Time Count 1,603 people were homeless. 167 were children and 95 were veterans. The Point In Time data will become available in about six weeks from now.