Supervisors approve funding for Kern County Homeless Collaborative

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The Kern County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to fund new positions for the Kern County Homeless Collaborative.

Supervisors voted unanimously, 5-0, to approve a memorandum of understanding with the City of Bakersfield. As part of the agreement, the county agrees to pay roughly $155,000 per year until 2024 to help fund the Kern County Homeless Collaborative.

“This is one more step in the process, one more step we can do to help address the homeless issue,” said Megan Person, director of countywide communications.

Previously, the Kern County Homeless Collaborative was primarily a volunteer organization loosely made up of local agencies. However, with new funding, the Collaborative will soon have its own executive director and three full time staff members.

“We all recognize that this is top of mind for everyone,” Person said. “You drive around anywhere in the county, you’re going to see the issue rising. So this is one of the many steps we’re taking to ensure we’re changing the face of homelessness the city and county are facing.”

Person added the funds are all budgeted, meaning Tuesday’s vote does not impact the county’s 2019-2020 budget surplus.

“It doesn’t take a negative effect. This is a positive way for the county to invest in the collaborative and homeless issue, and we can do it from a place of fiscal strength,” Person continued.

The Bakersfield City Council is set to vote on the memorandum of understanding on Wednesday. If the agreement passes at city hall, the city, too, will agree to fund the collaborative with $155,000 per year until 2024.

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