20190608-bc-homeless (copy)

In this file photo, Jeffery Mead and Melodie Dearman make their home at "homeless park," a place coined by Jeffery, at 2601 Q Street. A new homeless shelter is being proposed about a block away in central Bakersfield.

Kern County officials are proposing a low-barrier homeless shelter about a block away from a location the city of Bakersfield recently stepped back from after property owners raised concerns.

Situated on a county-owned site north of Golden State Avenue, between M Street and O Street, the 4.6 acre site could provide easily accessible shelter for about 150 homeless individuals.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the proposal Tuesday. The shelter, which would operate for a two-to-five year period, is expected to cost up to $2 million to construct and up to $1.5 million to operate.

If approved by the supervisors, the county would need to develop a funding plan. Potential options included in the proposal are grants and a potential partnership with the city.

“The urgency of the current gap in facilities for places for the downtown homeless population to shelter and receive services for permanent placement is clear,” the County Administrative Office wrote in the proposal. “This urgency supports the selection of this location as an immediate need for an indefinite period of time while other solutions are explored and implemented.”

A low-barrier shelter is meant to provide a place to sleep for homeless individuals who cannot otherwise be admitted to more strict homeless shelters. The county’s proposed site would also give homeless people temporary living facilities while they work with case workers to find more permanent solutions.

In June, Bakersfield officials moved forward with a plan to place a low-barrier shelter at Weill Park, just one block away from the county’s proposed location. However, business and property owners objected to the location, and the city soon decided to look for other options before asking the City Council to approve the site.

“This proposed site will not only re-purpose underutilized county property but is also an ideal location to provide transitional housing to our most vulnerable residents,” the county wrote in its proposal.

The county said in its proposal that the shelter would include portable toilets, individual storage lockers, portable showers and potentially laundry services.

A pet area and a spot for service providers to meet with clients is also expected to be included.

Supervisor Mike Maggard prompted the county’s proposal. He recently met with Rep. Kevin McCarthy and other Bakersfield leaders in an attempt to develop a centralized strategy for taking on the homeless crisis.

Maggard and Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh released a joint statement about the shelter on Thursday.

"Together we are excited for the opportunity to address the homeless crisis that is facing our community," the two leaders said in the statement. "The county and city will continue to work together to take action to keep our streets clean and safe and ensure that the homeless get the services they need. This is a positive step forward."

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.

(9) comments

yorkies2014

did I miss something?.........are these named officials now liberals.....

scottybob

Put it in an area where the people have already protested against it. Since that doesn't seem to matter, how about putting it in the northwest among the "rich folks" and let them protest for awhile. Most the the tax money comes from them anyway. They can afford to hire private security to keep out the "undesirables".

2carpoor

Time worn and proven: A vested interest in something enhances the participant greater interest in making it work. That's one of the greatest reasons (besides Mr. Hart's leadership) why the Sunset Camp south of town was so successful. The neighbors were invested with their own sweat equity if nothing else.

Copper

Well praise Jesus! Drop in the bucket but it’s a start! Great job Bakersfield

REMUDA

(word triggers from 'story' above)

" . . . low-barrier homeless shelter"? (covered/enclosed air-conditioned 'tent'?; keep in or keep out?) ". . . 150 homeless"? (one big 'bucket' w/pets and more to come?) ". . . two-to-five year period (short-term?) ". . . $2 million to construct and up to $1.5 million to operate" ($3.5M PLUS?) ". . . re-purpose underutilized county property"? (Fed funds? Property taxes?) " . . . while they work with case workers . . . "? (shared housekeeping chores with homeless responsible to clean & sanitize?)

And what will these homeless folks do in all their 'spare time' . . . ?

Ok, let's all get to work folks as these homeless "citizens(?)" need a job anyway . . . to "Build It And They Will Come" (part of the deal?) . . . and see what happens . . .

ReefRanger

"Short time period" my big, furry throw rug! NOTHING that any government ever proposes, especially tax increases, is ever "Short term! What...they are going to build this multi-million dollar facility and staff it with employees, and then in a few years they are going to abandon it? Yeah, right.

REMUDA

(from the BOS website)

County Government Vision Statement: "To create and maintain a customer-centered County government designed to garner the confidence, support and trust of the people we serve."

County Government Mission Statement: "To enhance the quality of life in Kern County by protecting and serving our citizens."

(https://www.kerncounty.com/bos/)

Sheebe

Disregard what the citizens that live in the area and their kids. Nice going liberals. Cannot think of a better place so you build it where it will become an unsafe place.

ReefRanger

Exactly! I have friends that live a block from the proposed site, and that area is already unsafe. Lots of gang activity, drug dealing, rampant crime. So, on the one hand, its the perfect place for the people who "can't go to more restrictive shelters." For the residents who try to keep themselves and their property safe, not so much.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.