NewsKern's Homeless Crisis


Kern County provides an update on new 'safe camping' for the homeless

Posted at 8:54 AM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 11:54:59-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Kern County posted a picture to social media showing some final touches at the safe camping and parking area at the M Street Navigation Center.

They're working to move homeless people off the streets and into housing offering help and services to those who need it.

We’re trailblazing here," Rebecca Moreno, the director of community development at CAPK, recently said. "We're doing something different that Kern County hasn't seen and so we're really excited about that and we're really grateful for the partnership with the county.”

The campsites provide clients with a tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, three meals a day, and access to restrooms and showers all on newly installed grass turf. It will also provide safe parking for those with vehicles.

“If you’re a single woman sleeping in your car, that can get pretty scary even for any individual. You know that’s pretty scary you don’t know who’s out there with what types of weapons,” added M Street Navigation Program Manager Laurie Hughey back in March.

The campsites were created as a result of concerns voiced by the homeless community and one of the primary reasons that some were reluctant to come into a shelter is due to barriers which she says they were determined to address.

“A few of those are partners. Partners want to stay together, whether it be in our male and female dorm or like Brundage Lane that offers couples a room together. There is a long waiting list for that because couples don't want to be separated,” said Moreno.

Moreno adds that a limitation on pets is also a barrier that people face. She says that specifically at their campsite, they will allow people to bring two dogs or cats per person. And in addition to addressing these barriers, they want to make sure people at the campsite also have access to vital resources.

The plan was approved back in March.

Over 40 campsites will be hosted by the center in a partnership with the Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK).