BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern County Homeless Collaborative is looking for volunteers to help with their annual homeless count.
"The point in time count is extremely vital to our community. the point in time count, the data we get from that and the numbers that we submit to the federal government ensure that we continue to receive federal dollars. Kern County receives about five and half million dollars for homeless services from the federal government and most recently we were awarded four million dollars from the state of California and all of that money is directly tied to the point in time count and the data that we get," Jessica Janssen of the Kern County Homeless Collaborative said.
According to Janssen the agency's January 2018 point in time count found a nine percent increase in homelessness throughout kern county and a 46 percent increase in un-sheltered individuals in metro Bakersfield. However, she said in order to properly identify the scope of the homeless issue in each area, the help from locals is essential,"It's so important that people who are local to our outlining communities are participating." Janssen said locals know the area best and they can pin point hot spots for homelessness because it is in their backyard.
Janssen said volunteers will be approaching homeless community members to help connect them with resources, assistance and housing most importantly.
So far the collaborative has about 250 volunteers registered for this years count, but they still need 50 more for the count on January 30.
To register you can go to their website. The deadline to register is Thursday January 10. You must be 18 or older to register and you must attend the free training class beforehand.