BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Wednesday, the Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative released its Point In Time Count Report revealing the number of people experiencing homelessness in Kern County remained relatively stable year over year.
The report found that as of Feb. 23, 1,603 people were experiencing homelessness county-wide in 2022 compared to 2020’s report of 1,580. This is a 1.45 percent increase year over year.
The report also found an increase in people experiencing homelessness who had shelter. The report showed 875 people (55 percent) in 2022 had shelter compared with 576 in 2020. This is a 51.9 percent increase in sheltered people.
Deb Johnson, chair of the 2022 PIT Count and president and CEO of California Veterans Assistance Foundation (CVAF), said the efforts of the city, county and BKRHC have had a dramatic impact in sheltering people, especially during the pandemic.
“While there is always more to do, those engaged in services are more likely to achieve a permanent housing solution and the rise in our sheltered numbers is a positive direction,” Johnson said.
The number of unsheltered people decreased in 2022 to 728 (45 percent) from 1,004 in 2020. This is a 27.5 percent decrease.
Anna Laven, Ed.D., BKRHC executive director, said over the past two years, the Mission at Kern County expanded by 40 beds, the Bakersfield Homeless Center expanded by 70 beds, the M Street Navigation Center opened with 150 beds, the Brundage Lane Navigation Center opened with 150 beds and CVAF opened approximately ten scattered site shelter beds for youth.
The report found 15 percent of households contained at least one adult and one child. The report also found at least one instance of a household comprised of five children and no adults experiencing homelessness. The total number of children experiencing homelessness was 167.
Children under 18 represented 10 percent of sheltered people while youth between ages 18 and 24 represented 6 percent and adults over 24 represented 83 percent. Adults represented 94 percent of the unsheltered population with children representing one percent and youth representing 5 percent.
The report a breakdown of the data by gender showed males represented the majority of the sheltered and unsheltered populations making up 60 percent of sheltered individuals and 74 percent of unsheltered individuals. Women represented 39 percent and 24 percent of sheltered and unsheltered individuals, respectively. Those who either identified as transgender or nonbinary made up 1 percent of the sheltered population and 2 percent of the unsheltered population.
According to the report, Hispanic people represented 41 percent of the entire population experiencing homelessness.
According to the report, 25 percent of people self-reported as chronically homeless, meaning they have experienced homelessness for at least 12 months, or on at least four separate occasions in the last 3 years, where the combined occasions total at least 12 months.
Veterans represented 6 percent of adults while 25 percent of adults reportedly suffer from mental illness and 34 percent suffer from substance abuse, according to the report. Domestic violence survivors make up 5 percent of adults.