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Red Roof Inn on Oak Street to be converted to housing for the homeless

The project is currently under construction
Posted at 10:48 AM, Mar 13, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Miguel Solorzano, a service coordinator with Flood Ministries, meets with unhoused people everyday to find the most vulnerable people to move into the the Red Roof Inn once it's completed.

  • Video shows the ongoing construction of the Red Roof Inn to update the spaces for currently homeless people to eventually move into the units.
  • Miguel Solorzano, a service coordinator with Flood Ministries, meets with unhoused people everyday to find the most vulnerable people to move into the the Red Roof Inn once it's completed.
  • Solorzano says his experience with drug addiction and homelessness helps him relate to his clients and provide them with the resources they need.

The ongoing construction you see behind me is the work of the Housing Authority to convert the Red Roof Inn motel to housing for people experiencing homelessness in the county.
The whirling of a drill and the banging of a hammer are the sounds of the construction of a new future for dozens of unhoused people in Kern County.

“I’m a true believer that everyone deserves a second chance,” Miguel Solorzano, a service coordinator with Flood Ministries, said.

He tells me giving people those second chances hits close to home.

“I know the feeling of not having a safe place to sleep in.”

Solorzano says his experience with homelessness and drug addiction allows him to relate to the clients he interacts with.

He adds that he works with multiple agencies to find people to move into the Red Roof Inn off Oak St in Bakersfield once it’s completed.

“The trauma that comes from being on the street, that wears you down, and that affects you physically and so we’re out there trying to identify those folks and get them off the street,” Jim Wheeler, the executive director of Flood Ministries said.

Bakersfield Neighborhood News Reporter Dominique Lavigne interviewing Jim Wheeler, the Executive Director of Flood Ministries. Wheeler says it's an ongoing process trying to get people off the streets.
Bakersfield Neighborhood News Reporter Dominique Lavigne interviewing Jim Wheeler, the Executive Director of Flood Ministries. Wheeler says it's an ongoing process trying to get people off the streets.

He says his team identified a group of people living along the Kern River who they plan to help move into housing.

“Without the support and the opportunities that this is going to bring, that almost seems impossible for somebody,” Heather Kimmel, the assistant executive director for the Housing Authority, said.

To help people stay in housing, Kimmel with the Housing Authority says they will only charge 30% of the renter's income, and if they don’t have an income, they plan to offer services to help.

“When we’re able to bring deeply affordable units that are specific for people who have experienced homelessness, we’re really creating that pathway forward for them,” she said.

Kimmel says the county has seen an uptick in motel conversions in the last few years.

Rick Ramos with the Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative says the more than $4.6 million project takes funding from the $7 million grant awarded in the second round of funding from the California Interagency Council on Homelessness.

This funding will support the conversion of 39 units to offer housing for 70 currently unhoused people.

“Some people need a lot of help, and some people just need us to check on them every once in a while, but we’re always there when they need us,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler says they worked on the other three motel conversions and reports a 90% retention rate after two years.

Tenants can expect to receive a move-in kit with cookware, a towel, bedding, and other items along with on-site management and service providers when it’s time to move into their new home.

As for Solorzano, he remembers the feeling of moving into his own place, and he’s proud to share that with others.

“It’s the same feeling I got when I got my first apartment. I get to experience that over and over and over again with my clients.”

This project is estimated to be completed in May for people to begin moving into the property.


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