BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — With the growing issue of homelessness in Kern County. A new process could help get more people off the streets, as the Bakersfield City Council voted to approve the expansion of the Brundage Lane Navigation Center. The expansion approved today can help about 150 more people have a place to live.
BLNC is a facility with about 150 beds now and is meant to help people get the housing they need to stay off the streets. This center is unique because it houses couple dorms and allows people to bring their pets as well, but ultimately the city felt it needed to be bigger.
The council approved the expansion of the BLNC which would add nearly 150 beds to the center. Officials said they have to turn away about 64 people each week because of bed shortages.
“The county applauds any effort to continue to strengthen that facility in the work that they're doing out there, that'll have it and continue to have a tremendous impact on the work that we're doing across our region to address homelessness,” said Ryan Alsop Chief Administrative Officer, County of Kern.
Staff presented the expansion plan at the city council meeting on Wednesday evening.
The expansion design will include:
- Increasing the bed count from 150 to 300.
- An expansion to the 7,900-square foot service provider wing to accommodate additional caseworkers needed to assist the increasing total of clients.
- Working with local hospitals to establish a recuperative care dorm for hospitals to meet recent changes in California law for discharged unsheltered patients.
- Development of a headquarters for expanded Code Enforcement Rapid Response Teams.
“So, one hundred fifty beds at this point in time are already taken. So, every morning the team that I work with is calling down and hoping there's a bed. And often now there is not. So, the extra human beds will definitely be an advantage and will give us the opportunity to get more people in to help and off the street,” said Jeff Burdick, Lieutenant, Bakersfield Police Department.
The center opened back in October of 2020 and said they have helped about 750 homeless clients and has helped about 85 people find permanent housing solutions. Since the facility also lets people bring their pets, the expansion could help increase that capacity as well.
The design project is expected to cost almost $60,000 with funding through the public safety and vital services measure.
In addition to increasing the total number of clients who can be served on-site, this project will also include an expansion to the on-site pet kennel, increasing the capacity for pets from 15 to 50.
Staff said they will come back to the council in December with a full cost estimate.