BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Officials say the ability to secure permanent housing has declined in the final quarter of 2020, and these recent spikes showcase trends in new homeless parishioners.
“What we want to see is create a system where homelessness is rare, it’s short and it won’t happen again.”
It remains a strong target for Anna Laven, the executive director of the Bakersfield Core Regional Homeless Collaborative, but the reports compiled by this organization show some trends
“We’re seeing some trends where people who don’t necessarily have to call places like 2-11 are now having to seek services for the first time, and that’s a problem.”
Those 2-11 calls, which can help with resources and information for the homeless community, ran from just under 1,000 in 2019 and peaked at nearly 3,500 in 2020. The data also shows an increase in the number of first-time homeless people, but a decrease in the number of people finding permanent shelter, and these are just some of the problems.
“The other problem we’re seeing here in Bakersfield is the low vacancy rate for rental units. We have a vacancy rate of less than 2%. So this means that those who are interested or can find housing units. So there is a supply and demand issue that we are also concerned about. “
On Wednesday, Laven brought these questions before Bakersfield City Council to discuss what needs to be addressed in the future.
“As affordable housing is developed, there is an opportunity to have some of these units of permanent supportive housing identified or identified, there are other grant funds or other resources that we can review to ensure that we are maximizing and continuing to bring in resources . “
She says this needs to be addressed for many reasons, but one of them is that one in five homeless people is a child.
“We know this kid has a significant impact growing up on the street.”
She says people between the ages of 18 and 24 also contribute to a significant number of the homeless, which makes the path a little more uncertain for their future.
“Every day they spend on the road, getting back on a solid footing with goals and a career, and all the things we want for this age group are getting harder and harder.”
If you are or know someone who needs housing assistance due to homelessness, you can call 2-1-1 for resources available across the county.