The Mission:

To put an end to homelessness in Kern County through collaborative planning and action.

In This Section

For information: Homelessness Resources Administrative Assistant Jessica M. Janssen (661) 834-1580 or Jessica.F@uwkern.org. 

 


KCHC selected for Zero: 2016 national effort

11/7/2014

Kern County has been selected as one of 68 US communities to participate in ‘Zero: 2016’, a two year national campaign to end veteran and chronic homelessness. The Kern County Homeless Collaborative (KCHC) will work intensively to lead the local effort to meet end veteran homelessness by December 2015 and chronic homelessness by December 2016. The initiative is a rigorous follow-up to the successful 100,000 Homes Campaign, which helped communities, house 105,000 chronically homeless Americans in less than four years.

“The effort supports our vision: chronic and veteran homelessness can be solved if we work together,” said Jim Wheeler, chairman of the KCHC Steering Committee (the governing board for KCHC) and executive director of Golden Empire Gleaners. Selected for ‘Zero: 2016’ through a competitive, national application process, KCHC is committed to the initiative which will formally launch in January 2015, led by Community Solutions (a New York based nonprofit).

A February, 2014 report published on the KCHC website KernHomeless.org indicates the 2014 Homeless Census (aka the Point in Time Count) reflected a local 30 percent decrease in veteran homelessness over the previous year. Recently the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the results of the 2014 Homeless Point-in-Time Count. The report singled out veteran homelessness for its particularly steep decline – more than 30 percent in the last four years. Local officials are committed to reducing that population to zero. “We are close,” said Wheeler, “the Collaborative’s membership is focused. These veterans have secured our freedom and we must be diligent to do all we can to see they are housed.”

The HUD report showed that communities selected to join ‘Zero: 2016’ account for a combined 31,669 chronically homeless Americans and 16,218 homeless veterans (with an estimated 30 to 40 percent overlap between these two populations). Kern County has seen a dramatic 40 percent decrease in people experiencing chronic homelessness since the population was at its highest in 2012. Wheeler indicated chronic homelessness represents people who have been living sometimes years on the street and every human being deserves to live in a place other than under a bridge or in a car – places uninhabitable by humans.

“We are honored to be one of the 68 communities selected for ‘Zero: 2016’” said Wheeler. The task will be headed up by KCHC’s Home First: Ten Year Plan Committee chaired by Kim Albers, executive director of FLOOD Bakersfield Ministries. The first 90 days of the initiative will be focused on data and performance management with a goal of developing clear monthly targets for housing placements needed to reach the goal.

“We cannot do this alone,” said Albers, “the community’s support is what will secure success for these veterans and those who are chronically homeless.”  Resources are desperately needed for beds, refrigerators and rent deposits (average costs of beds are $175 – often families need several; refrigerators average $225; and deposits $500). To support the effort and provide a tax deductible gift, visit www.kernhomeless.org, select “donate”.

‘Zero: 2016’ will dovetail with other initiatives working to help communities end homelessness, including the Mayor’s Challenge to End Homelessness, supported by Bakersfield Mayor Harvey L. Hall.  Championing the Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, Mayor Hall has been a driving inspiration for the local work.

Community Solutions is a national non-profit dedicated to helping communities solve complex social problems facing the most vulnerable residents. The organization’s work applies design thinking, quality improvement and a host of other cross-sector disciplines to issues like homelessness, unemployment and public health.

REFERENCES

*Reported numbers are minimal due to confidential domestic violence, medical and legal data which is confidential and not reported; and indicate duplicative services provided.

KERN COUNTY HOMELESS COLLABORATIVE MEMBERS

Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault

Alpha House

Bakersfield, City of

Bakersfield Homeless Center

California Veterans Assistance Foundation, Inc.

Clinica Sierra Vista

Community Action Partnership of Kern

FLOOD Bakersfield Ministries

Golden Empire Affordable Housing Inc.

Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance

Griffin’s Gate

Hearthstone Community Services

Housing Authority of the County of Kern

Independent Living Center of Kern County

Kern County Mental Health

Living Hope Fellowship

Mayor Harvey L. Hall

The Mission at Kern County

United Way of Kern County

Wasco Housing Authority

Women’s Center High Desert

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