According to the Kern County Homeless Collaborative (KCHC), the homeless population in Kern County has decreased by nearly 47% since the count in 2007, and nearly 24% since the count in January 2016. 810 individuals are known to be homeless - sleeping outside, residing in emergency shelters or in transitional housing.
Carlos Baldovinos, KCHC Board Chair, credits the decrease to new housing vouchers for chronically homeless households and an expansion of housing programs. He added “prevention is and housing aftercare is crucial. More people need to be housed than become or return to being homeless.”
Additional News from the 2016 Count to 2017 as Provided by KCHC:
- 67% of those surveyed indicate having stayed in an emergency shelter at some point and time.
- Individuals discharged from jail or prison was 7.6%, down from 12%.
- Individuals discharged from jail or prison who remain unsheltered increased to 60% of all surveyed, up from 32%.
- Individuals discharged from a mental health facility who remained unsheltered, decreased from 46% to 37.5%.
- Chronically ill individuals who remain unsheltered reduced from 58% to 35.7%.
- Those spending the previous night in a car, camper, van or other motor vehicle reduced from 43 individuals to 11; a decreased 74%
With substance abuse the following trends were identified:
- Alcohol users reduced from 210 to 144, reduced 31%;
- Marijuana users reduced from 77 to 47, reduced 39%;
- Cocaine / Crack users reduced from 49 to 29, reduced 41%;
- Meth users reduced from 193 to 95, down 51%; and
- Heroin users reduced from 57 to 23, down 60%.
- Individuals receiving mental health disability income reduced from 88 to 45, resulting in 49% less individuals reported receiving mental health disability benefits.
A 12-member Committee and 150 volunteers are behind the efforts of KCHC to end and prevent homelessness. This process is made possible by millions of dollars in received grant dollars.
It is important to note that the findings are “not a full and finite count of all people who are homeless. Rather, it is a snapshot of a single night to gauge homeless trends and measure outcomes.”