Members of the Bakersfield Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative hosted a meeting Monday where they offered a progress report on plans of action to combat homelessness.
The meeting was called for by Bakersfield Assemblyman Vince Fong. He and Congressman Kevin McCarthy have requested periodic updates on the plan of action being developed.
Stakeholders offered the latest information regarding two new homeless shelters approved just last week by the county and the City of Bakersfield. Both shelters together will increase shelter space by some 600 new beds for our homeless.
Those in attendance also learned that a bridge housing project for homeless women has been reached with the Sunset Labor Camp in Lamont. Additionally, city officials said Bakersfield police responded to nearly 440 calls for service from the city’s homeless rapid response team last month.
“We don’t see this type of collaboration in other parts of the state,” said Assemblyman Vince Fong. “The fact that we have our city, our county, our hospitals, our mental health providers, our addiction service providers, our law enforcement — the fact that we’re all engaged, sitting in the same room sharing best practices — I’m optimistic that our community will be leading the way in addressing homelessness in our state,” he continued.
Bakersfield Homeless Center CEO Louis Gill left the meeting feeling optimistic.
“I think any time we can get that many people who make decisions in the same room working towards the same goal, it’s a good thing,” Gill said. “It’s unusual for a community to have that many decision makers together, and so I am grateful that we can. ”
Both the city and county will be applying for state funds earmarked for homeless programs to help reduce the fiscal impact to their general fund budgets.
The new shelters being developed by the city and the county should be up and running in early 2020.