BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom spoke in San Jose at an emergency interim housing community site for the homeless, he gave details on new funds set to expand California's efforts to house the homeless amid the pandemic.
At the Mission at Kern, where they’re in the middle of an expansion project that will allow them to open 40 new beds, it’s one of many reasons that the mission says Kern is and will continue to be ready to care for the homeless amid the pandemic.
“We’re announcing an additional $200 million that we are contributing to this state through our Homekey Partnership,” said Newsom.
At a briefing on Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that $200 million will be added to the state’s $600 million Homekey Program, which is the new version of the state’s Roomkey Program, a program that aimed to provide temporary housing in Bakersfield hotels for the homeless, but Carlos Baldivinos says no hotels were needed for that reason. The new Homekey Program aims to purchase and rehabilitate properties that can be transitioned into long-term or permanent housing for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.
“It’s very good that there is an expansion there, of resources,” said Carlos Baldovinos, executive director, the Mission at Kern.
Newsom spoke in front of some new properties stemming from the Homekey Program in San Jose. Carlos Baldivinos of the Mission at Kern says his understanding is that existing funds from the program haven’t yet been used in Kern, but he says there is work being done to identify properties that may be used to help the cause.
“So I mean I think there’s going to be some good updates in the days ahead,” said Baldivinos.
Baldivinos says there is a significant need for homeless services in the community because of the virus, but thankfully, there is also a large amount of help, as several organizations are working toward solutions to prevent homelessness in the first place.
“A lot of the service providers are working on that. They’re diligent. They’re being very intentional about that. And we just got to continue to work as a community to prevent homelessness," said Baldovinos.
That 40-bed expansion will open by the end of the year. Both Governor Newsom and Baldovinos underlined the importance of offering treatment that can help prevent people from becoming homeless. Services like that are available at Kern Behavioral Health, as well as at the Mission, amongst others.