This sign will be made available to businesses in Bakersfield to discourage people from giving money to the homeless. 

Handouts don't help.

That's the message Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh wants well-intentioned people to know about the city's homeless problem. And it will soon be put on signs for businesses to post in their windows.

"The goal is for people to think longer term," Goh said Monday, adding that giving out money enables substance abuse and encourages panhandlers to keep begging.

Instead, the sign is meant to redirect the giver's goodwill by encouraging donations to be made to nonprofits locally that work on the homeless issue.

"Our goal is to help the homeless person move on in their journey in a positive way. By connecting them to services. That’s a more lasting way to make change," she said. 

Goh worked with the Kern Community Foundation to establish a way for donations to be made by text. All donations will be split equally between the Mission at Kern County and the Bakersfield Homeless Center. 

Donations can be made by sending a text that says "BAKOHOMELESS" to 44321, which will connect to an online platform, said Kristen Beall Watson, Kern Community Foundation president and CEO. A small processing may apply, likely around 20 cents for a $5 donation, she said.

The move is a small one but is meant to help in the city's overall effort of getting the homeless into services that can help them get off the street permanently. Doing so requires more than just a place to live. A homeless person often needs help with health issues, mental health problems or addiction. The Kern County Mission and Bakersfield Homeless Center provides access to those types of "wrap-around" services. 

Goh said a friend designed the sign and the city will print it on plastic boards. They will then be available for any businesses that want to post one in their window.

Goh said donations to other agencies that help the homeless population are welcome, as well. The idea is simply to get the public's help in combatting a difficult and complex problem by not giving out money to those asking for it.

(15) comments


How much of these "Donations" get eaten up by administration costs, 75% maybe 90%?

Do these "charities" have the homeless' best interests at heart or their own?

She Dee

If a person really is convinced that handouts cannot help a person to lift themselves out of a hole, then the people making these signs don't really care about a person who is in an immediate need situation. On a cold rainy day when I had given up all hope, a woman appeared with a free umbrella, a rain poncho, a hat & she asked me if I'd like to come into the grocery store with her to get a meal & a hot beverage at the deli counter. She was what I would call an Angel. She saw a need in me & helped me more than anyone ever has with her act of kindness. I was hanging out in the parking lot under the eaves to stay dry & trying to figure out a way to get to the local shelter without getting soaked. I was more hungry than I can explain. That said, if the Mayor thinks it's a great idea to ignore others in need, then I'd remember that when going to the polls on the next election cycle. If she cares, she will fund a bus to get people to the helping hand agencies & if she cannot do that, she needs to give people bus passes or tokens so they can get to a safe place. Those signs just say P*** Off to me. Lacks empathy & invites trouble in my opinion..


"HOMELESS . . . ?" (Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh--"text your $$ to "BAKOHOMELESS" to 44321")

"REBRANDING . . . ?" ("Our communities power California in so many ways," Karen Goh stated. "We're proud of our heritage and optimistic about the future.")

"JULIET: ’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;

Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.

What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,

Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part

Belonging to a man. O! be some other name:


So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title. ROMEO, doff thy name;

And for that name, which is no part of thee,

Take all myself." (Romeo and Juliet Act II. Scene II. CAPULET’S Orchard--W. Shakespeare). AS PROVIDED BY North Star Destination Strategies, Nashville TN (where else?)--"Thanks for the $200K--Up Front"

(Kern's Board of Supervisors, too, will be asked to vote on adopting the rebranding strategy, a county official said.)


We all made a choice for mayor not too long ago. The options were one of the most proven do-ers in modern Bakersfield, versus a feel good, unaccomplished hanger on, who happened to fit the current politically correct mantras. Who did the enlightened voters choose? So now we can all rest assured with Bakersfield's new Branding and Logos.


Jesus wanted you to feed the poor, but knew that only Herod should have the rights to distribution....I forget, what verse is that?


How much of these "donations" get eaten up by administration costs?

75-95% possibly?


Thank you, mayor, for trying new things to help and effect change. We have to start somewhere and even if this effort isn’t perfect, I wholeheartedly believe it’s a step in the right direction.


This is outrageous, our Mayor is campaigning for us to donate money to homeless facilities. Correct me if I'm wrong, I thought we just passed Measure N to address this financial need. What a scam Bakersfield has become.


Appearenly the mayor missed the memo not to make decisions the violate the Bill.of rights

n is asking for help and is protected free speech /[ban]


God is a very nice lady. Dumb as a rock.


When I worked at Goodwill on Chester and 17th we would be approached by the homeless in the parking garage. Goodwill gave us cards that listed where to get a meal, where to get a bed, where to get medical help. After I started handing those to panhandlers they quit approaching me.


The pastor at church says to offer food or something to drink but not to give cash


I like the forward thinking of Mayor Goh. However, there is something that is a turn off and this ties in with the rebranding article. " Bako" is a derogatory term used by outsiders. It means to bake or to be tortured by heat . Coastal people insult Bakersfield in many ways and this word is used at the beginning of a sentence and is used to set up the laugh.

Helping the " homeless" by encouraging donations to support facilities is a very good thing. Hand outs don't help. And maybe an even more important way to truly curb abuse which can cause Homelessness is to not allow drugs to be sold so cheaply. Understand, Police force ?

Also, when the representatives of a community starts to respect the citizens by protecting their environment such as air, water and food then that creates a healthier environment for the living. Basically what I am saying is that if you want people to stop harming their bodies then stop the " Chevrons" from harming us. Its basically over farming of a natural resource. The Dust Bowl happened from poor farming practice and this was continued here as if the lesson wasn't learned.

Adult education? Adult trade schools?

But thank you to Mayor Goh.


clearly this is a faith based, self righteous perspective. churches.... mega churches take monetary handouts too often.


Brilliant advice: Trust non-homeless administrators to know homeless needs better than those struggling on the streets. Programs well intentioned and designed to teach the mentally ill, felony conviction disadvantaged and self-medicating addicts rely on Conservative Tropes: We just need to help and encourage the homeless to stand on their own two feet. Sadly, Mayor Goh, the homeless know their needs infinitely better than well intentioned administrators. At least don’t discourage person to person private charity.

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