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Social service advocates respond to Kern's 2023 Point in Time Count

This year's PIT Count found that a little under 2,000 people in Kern County experience homeless. This is more than last year, but more of those people are sheltered now.
homeless encampment (file)
Posted at 7:21 PM, Apr 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-14 23:09:59-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative has released its Point-In-Time Count report for 2023. The count happened in January.

This year, BKRHC's PIT Count found that about 0.2 percent of the population of Kern County is currently experiencing homelessness. That's a little under 2,000 people.

The data collected by the PIT Count will be passed on to state and federal agencies and will determine how much funding Kern County will receive in future funding allocations for unsheltered residents.

"For us as service providers we get to see okay, what areas do we need to really strategize and hone into," said Carlos Baldovinos, the executive director for The Mission at Kern County.

carlos baldovinos
Carlos Baldovinos, Executive Director of The Mission at Kern County

Baldovinos says this year's count saw an increase in volunteers as well as an increase in the amount of time taken to count. The PIT Count is typically done within a 12-hour time period, but in 2023, it was conducted over a span of 4 days.

Baldovinos adds that new strategies have been implemented as well, including having volunteers go out into some more rural areas of Kern County.

"Then, we were just relying on just data that we had on the database. This, we're able to go out even to the riverbeds, which, i mean, you're having to go out there, 'cause they're not coming to you to get counted," said Baldovinos. "We're having to go out there."

This year's PIT Count found a 22 percent increase in homeless people counted as opposed to last year. 52 percent were found unsheltered, while 48 percent of people were counted as sheltered. Out of the sheltered people, 37.5 percent were in emergency shelters while 10.5 percent were in transitional housing.

Baldovinos says The Mission and other shelter and advocacy organizations have already started making efforts to try and shelter more people.

"You have organizations like The Mission at Kern County, the Open Door Network," said Baldovinos. "More emergency beds have been added, you have more apartment units, affordable housing has been added. Yes, we have some work to do. We have a lot of work to do."

Baldovinos says it's important to remember that the PIT Count is only a snapshot of the homeless population. In addition, organizers with the homeless collaborative point out that the increase in counted people could be a result of the increase in volunteer counters, extended time for counting, and the strategic changes that counted more people in more of the county.

With regard to helping the homeless, Baldovinos wants to remind the public that there are numerous resources out there ready to provide assistance.

"These are organizations that are there to help people in need, so don't hold back," said Baldovinos. "Just go and get some help."


The Mission at Kern County

Open Door Network

Flood Ministries

Casa Esperanza Transitional Home for Women

Catholic Charities


Homelessness isn't just an issue in Kern County. It can be found statewide. California is already home to more people than any other state in the country, and it's also home to more homeless people per capita.

According to a report by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, California accounted for 30 percent of the nation's homeless population in 2022, and fully half of the entire country's unsheltered homeless population.

The state with the second highest number of unhoused people is Washington, and California with around 115,000 homeless people has 9 times more homeless people than Washington State, which stands at just under 13,000 unsheltered residents.