BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — As the holiday season and cooler temperatures approach, many homeless people are seeking shelter now more than ever. But this comes as one local homeless shelter just celebrated housing their 100th family, and that number keeps growing.
“Housing 100 chronically homeless people is a great victory. These are 100 homeless men and women who will never have to spend a night on the streets again,” said Theo Duce, Brundage Lane Navigation Center, Program Manager.
As homelessness continues to be a concern in Kern County the Brundage Lane Navigation Center has reached a milestone by permanently housing more than 100 people right before the holiday season.
“We all cherish family and home during the holiday seasons and for the people that we serve they don’t have that historically and now they do. This year they will be home for the holidays,” said Duce.
Duce said the center has grown rapidly over the past year and has expanded not only in size, but their essential resources as well.
“On-site right here at our facility we offer medical care, mental health treatment, chemical addiction treatment, job-skills training, life skills, and lastly connections to permanent housing placements,” said Duce.
It doesn't stop there. BLNC is on the rise by providing opportunities that have given people a chance to get back on their feet.
“It's critically important that we’re providing this resource and that we're getting people into permanent housing. Thanks to the good work that's happening here by BNLC, by Mercy House, by others. 102 individuals now, tonight will be in their homes. They will be home for the holidays,” said Andrae Gonzales, Bakersfield City Councilmember.
Every person that is provided with housing is opened with welcoming arms and cheer.
A significant part of the process is updating the housing placement count right on the mural placed inside the center.
“We have this long parade of staff and people who ring bells and hoop and holler, but it seemed a little louder for the 100th housing placement,” said Duce.
As the organization understands the difficulties of living on the street, BLNC is on a mission to not just lend a helping hand but to put an end to homelessness altogether one individual at a time.
“This is an agency that has the audacity to believe that we can actually solve the problem of homelessness. Not just manage the problem, but actually, solve the problem. That we have the will and resources to solve this problem once and for all,” said Duce.