BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Locals in need of housing, rent, mortgage, and medical bill assistance can start applying for financial support right now. Through local organizations, funds have been made available to help those in Kern County who have been adversely affected by COVID 19.
Officials say there are requirements you must meet, but they are hoping this money will benefit those at risk for homelessness.
"The best way of preventing homelessness is by keeping people in their home, our goal is to have everyone in Kern County to have a place to call home and if you have a place to call home we want you to be able to stay there," said Anna Laven, Bakersfield Regional Homeless Collaborative executive director.
Since March, the pandemic has put many families in a position where it is hard for them to pay their bills.
The Bakersfield Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative, alongside its members, the Housing Authority of the County of Kern, Community Action Partnership of Kern, and Bakersfield Homeless Center are providing funds for residents who have lost income and are in need of support.
"There are ways you need to qualify, you can start by calling 211, and if you are paying over 30% of your income to housing, that's a qualification. Next, you can't earn more than 80% of median income, so for a family of four, that's about 55,000 a year. So a modest income," said Louis Gill of the Bakersfield Homeless Center.
This program is for Kern County residents who have lost income since March because of the pandemic.
People can receive a one-time payment of up to $5,000 for rent, mortgage or if you have medical bills of more than $1,000. Applications are open throughout December or until all funds are distributed, whichever comes first.
"You can certainly be an individual applying and again that's where the eligibility will different, and that's they we are encouraging everyone to call 211. Funds are limited but we have received five million from the city and five million from the county, and we are still exploring all other opportunities as well."
The funds will be distributed on a first-come basis, and they are asking for applicants to remain patient.
To apply for assistance or for more information residents can call 2- 1-1.