Looking for a home after Tent City torn down

Posted at 11:06 AM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-08 17:48:27-05

Homeless are looking for new places to stay after South Union Road's Tent City was torn down.

In April of 2015, dozens of people who lived in tents and makeshift houses were evicted by the City of Bakersfield. Many moved to the dry riverbed, while others now roam downtown.

With the help of United Way and The Mission of Kern County, 40% of those evicted were placed in housing. According to Christine Lollar, Director at United Way, 30% were found to be employed or in school.

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Those who have denied housing or are waiting for a bed to open up, are now wandering the bike path, living underneath bridges and hanging out in Old Town Kern.

This creates tension for some businesses, like a local church.

"Drug deals, obvious drug deals have happened in our parking lot," Dan Vaughn with Calvary Bible Church is concerned about the nearby homeless population that lives in the riverbed across the street.

"Some of the homeless that have come over here that i've seen, they're pretty obviously meth addicts and we have children's programs going on here," Vaughn said.

Bakersfield Police records show vagrants are not typically arrested for violent crimes, more for things like sleeping or drinking in public.

Carlos Baldovinos, Executive Director at The Mission of Kern County, said not every homeless person is an addict and not every addict is a homeless person.

But you could fall victim if you make yourself an easy target. Police Officials advise people not to leave electronics like your cell phone easily visible in your car. Don't leave vehicles like a bike outside, unlocked and unattended and don't provoke them.

"They take some extreme measures sometimes to protect those things, because they don't come as easy as they do to some of us," Sergeant Gary Carruesco with BPD said.

While authorities haven't seen a rise in crime involving homeless, many are wandering areas they haven't before. Something Carruesco says is another reminder for you to remain aware of your surroundings.

If you have a concern involving a homeless person, Carruesco said you should contact your City Councilmember. For crime in your area, click here.

If you would like to help the homeless, here is a list of resources in Kern County.