NewsKern's Homeless Crisis


How does someone beat the heat when they don't have a home?

How does someone beat the heat when they don't have a home?
Posted at 3:53 PM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 21:44:59-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — For the last few days, the temperature has been rising, reaching up to the 100s on Wednesday. Beating the heat is almost impossible when it’s this hot, but there are some options for those looking for shelter.

Kyle Noe is one of several people experiencing homelessness in Bakersfield, while also dealing with this week’s blistering temperatures. Noe was finding shade under a tree at Mill Creek Park earlier Wednesday.

“I try to seek out cool places but they’re far and few between," Noe said. “I go back to the shelter and find guy after guy sunburned or heat exhausted.”

He was one of the many looking to get away from the sun, as temperatures were climbing into the triple digits. when it gets too hot, he plans to go to a library or a homeless shelter.

“Last week we started to see an influx in people that are just wanting to come and shelter," said Laurie Houghey, Program Manager at the M Street Navigation Center.

The shelter is operated by Kern County and CAPK. Houghey said they've seen about 60% more people coming to them for services amid the heat. Officials say most people who come for help are over the age of 36, very few are younger. The shelter’s outdoor shaded area provides a refuge from the streets where heatstroke is a concern.

“They don’t have a healthy diet, they’re not drinking water, when they are going out to purchase something, it’s either alcohol, drugs, or soda," Houghey said.

The navigation center also provides meals and water for the people who stay there. they recommend anyone who needs help or knows someone who needs help to call 2-1-1 for information about being admitted to the center, or other shelter options. Officials say the average person stays for four months, providing more than a potential escape from the heat, but also a potential track to a new life.

“It gives us an opportunity to get to know them and assist them with their housing," said Houghey.