BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Here at 23ABC, homelessness is one of our signature issues and organizations here locally are trying to tackle that problem, through data-driven approaches to get people in permanent housing.
The point in time count is a way to figure out how many people are experiencing homelessness in our community.
According to the 2022 count done back in February, which was the first in-person count since the pandemic began, there are a total of 1,600 and three people who are sleeping in shelters or without. That’s an increase of 1.5% since 2020.
The Bakersfield Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative, who did the count, said the data shows that more people experiencing homelessness have been able to find shelter, which is basically a bed where it’s safe to live, compared to 2020.
In 2020, only 37% of people experiencing homelessness, or about one third lived in shelters, and this year, 55% of people lived in shelters.
Anna Laven with the Homeless Collaborative said this type of count helps quantify people in need to allocate vital resources.
“That is when we undertake the herculean effort of essentially surveying everyone who is experiencing homelessness in Kern County, all 8000 sq. miles. The purpose of that is really to help us better understand what’s happening uniquely in our community. So, that way we can devote resources appropriately for addressing homelessness and finding permanent housing solutions for those we are trying to serve.”
From surveying people who are experiencing homelessness, the report from the pit count shows that in the Bakersfield metro area, central and east Bakersfield had the highest homeless population density in the county.
Breaking the number of people experiencing homelessness by gender, 32% of people identified as female and 67% as male.
Breaking down by groups, 6% are veterans, 25% are chronically homeless, 25% have a serious mental illness, 34% dealing with substance abuse, and 5% are survivors of domestic violence.