‘Point in Time’ homeless count underway across the county

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More than 400 volunteers set out Wednesday morning to roam the streets of Kern County and get a “point in time” count of the homeless problem.

The count takes place once a year and is led by the Kern County Homeless Collaborative.

“It really lets us know what is happening here locally and it allows us to shift programs and funding to really meet the needs of the people who need it most,” said Jessica Janssen of United Way of Kern County.

The homeless count began Tuesday night when volunteers at the Mission at Kern County, the Bakersfield Homeless Center and other emergency shelters, began surveying those in the shelters.

Wednesday morning volunteers went out to identify and talk with people who are actually living on the streets.

Volunteers were out from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. in all areas of Kern County.

“We’re looking at gender, age, history of mental health issues, we’re looking at substance abuse issues, we’re looking at reasons for homelessness, how long someone has been homeless,” said Janssen.

The data collected will be released around March and will be used to apply for state funding to help the homeless in a variety of ways.

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