NewsCovering Kern County


Local businesses hoping future Bakersfield homeless facility is not near them

Bakersfield homeless issue
Posted at 5:51 PM, Sep 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-09 20:51:45-04

As the Bakersfield city council considers 10 possible locations for a new homeless facility, several local businesses are hoping it's not near them.

Rod Crawford, the owner of Pyrenees Cafe on Sumner Street and Beale Avenue, says a new shelter near his restaurant may cause his business to fail.

Pyrenees is less than half a mile from the Mission at Kern County, a homeless facility housing over 180 homeless individuals. The facility announced last week that they will add 40 beds by next Spring.

Crawford says the foot traffic in his area is overwhelming. "It's making it hard for us. We're building taller fences, building bigger walls, barring up our windows," Crawford added.

His restaurant is also about a mile away from Golden State Highway and 'O' Street, a location where the county is planning on building a new low-barrier shelter.

"I don't see why they can't service other parts of town. Why do they want to funnel it all to this place?"

This concern is one of several business owners share, according to city and county officials.

Louis Gill, executive director of Bakersfield Homeless Center, exclaimed his thoughts about these concerns at the homeless forum on Tuesday.

"Everybody will like to tell you 'you know I'd really like to see more services, just not near me.' We're passed that folks."

At the forum, Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh also addressed location concerns residents and businesses have.

"To be able to say 'not in my backyard,' that is a challenge for us," Goh said.

Crawford said officials may think different if they spent time in his community.

"Come live in my backyard for a while and see what its like and deal with it every single day."

The county is set to approve their location for a new low-barrier shelter off Golden State Highway and 'O' Street Tuesday morning.