The good news is that the Mission at Kern County has the funding for 40 additional beds that will help address Bakersfield's escalating homeless problem.

The bad news is that no one seems to want the expansion encroaching on their businesses.

Such is life in the world of homeless remediation.

Louis Gill, executive director of the Bakersfield Homeless Center, discussed that and other issues when he joined Robert Price this week for "One on One," The Californian's weekly webcast.

Among the topics Gill and Price discussed:

• At a recent meeting of the Board of Zoning Adjustment, business owners in the Old Town Kern area voiced opposition to a plan put forward by the Mission at Kern County — with whom Gill is not affiliated — to add accommodations for 40 homeless people and a resource center near its existing facility at 816 East 21st St. Gill said the worsening homeless problem cannot be properly addressed if NIMBYism (Not in My Backyard) is allowed to hold sway.

• The demise of redevelopment agencies in California has had a detrimental effect on cities' ability to fight the homeless problem, which is epidemic throughout the state. Gill called on elected officials, both local and state-level, to create new legal vehicles that will enable municipalities to more easily fund programs and facilities.

• Gill confirmed that the homeless population has increased 100 percent in just the past few years, noting that roughly three-quarters of those people are home-grown. But there is little or no evidence that other cities are shipping their homeless to Bakersfield, as has occurred in past years.

The entire interview is available for "on demand" viewing on bakersfield.com.

(9) comments

Fram Smith

Why not kick out the for-profit private prison company, GEO, from the downtown Mesa Verde Detention Facility, and use it for a homeless center? We are fools, as city residents, to allow bad actors like GEO to operate in our city ; which opens up the city, (Bakersfield taxpayers ), to huge liability from civil law suits, by operating within the city limits. This is an opportunity to " kill two birds with one stone". Get rid of the financial liability the city has by allowing GEO to operate here, and have a homeless center in a location that few will complain about. Some problems do have solutions; if you can think outside the box.

Sr Tito

May 30
Kudos to TBC for discussing this pressing issue with the BHC Ex. Director. The Nimby effect poses a serious challenge for expanding emergency shelter beds.

To address this challenge, the CA legislature in 2017 passed AB 1397 which amended law dealing with required Housing Elements. Section 65580 et. al. of the government code mandates cities and counties to identify a zone or zones in their updated Housing Elements where emergency shelters are allowed as a permitted use (via zoniing) without a C.U.P. or discretionary permit.

The City of Bakersfield Housing Element was approved by the state in 2016 and does not officially need to be updated until around 2023 (8 year period cycle). The City could request to do an amendment to their H.E . and identify these zones per AB 1397. This would help alleviate the Nimby effect for BHC and the Mission at Kern County. Tito

Sr Tito

P. S.
The County is undergoing their H. E. update and will need to comply with AB 1397 requirements dealing with housing zone(s) designated for emergency shelter beds outright which will mitigate the Nimby effect. Tito

sg56

The current plan for the homeless is not working. The hard working citizens have to put up with the panhandling, trash, sanitation, smell, etc. Set up temporary buildings for shelter outside the city, provide food, sanitation, medical evaluations and a means to get back on their feet. Provide instruction and pay the homeless people who are motivated to run the temporary shelters. These shelters would be a stepping stone to get back into society and become productive. Only the lazy ones would not want this because they don’t want to be productive.

She Dee

A question for sg56 & others who think only lazy people are the problem. As a formerly homeless person, I can attest that there are actually very few in the homeless community who are LAZY. It takes a tremendous amount of inner strength to live in the streets & deal with the endless supply of hate that comes from the public as well as from the other homeless people who are so depressed & dejected, that they view everyone as their enemy. A lot a straight out of prison or mental health facilities & others (like me) were victims of violent crimes & unemployable. It took me almost 5 years to get on permanent disability & I still am looked down on when I tell some people I was homeless for all of those 5 years. I was not drinking or using drugs while I was in the streets & in shelters. I was just trying to survive. You should try living with no help & no chance of being reeducated in order to get a job while your body is in a cast & healing from injuries. Then try having all the helping hand agencies tell you their requirements for help are that you become a Christian & work for them. No one in America should have to play the mind games that many (not all) of these agencies are putting the homeless through. Shelters are a stepping stone to a locked life with no chance to ever get out. You are just a number that is used to get funding in order to pay the bills to help others. It's a slippery slope that not many of us ever return from. I happen to be a survivor & no one ever counting on me living years past my expiration date. I see people who think as you do as the main problem. You have to walk in the same shoes as others in order to know what true empathy & understanding of the homeless community is. There is no plan for the homeless. There never has been. Get real. We are a business toy. In my view.

Patricia Edna

First, we need to stop the Democrats in Sacramento from inviting homeless people from all over the country to California with promises of housing in coastal cities and other places they’d never be able to afford otherwise. We have plenty of desert space to create homeless camps if they really want to come here. If I can’t afford to live at the beach, neither should some homeless scrub living off the government with no aspirations of getting a job.

AndrewBond

@Patricia Edna Nobody is "inviting homeless people from all over the country." Do you really think that homeless are arriving here, one of the more expensive states in the country in regards to cost of living? Lay off the conspiracy theories being fed to you via Fox News, Alex Jones, and whatever local, fear-mongering news source there is.

She Dee

I wish Patricia Edna would would explain what was said in the last sentence. What, exactly is a "homeless scrub"? Makes no sense to me to label people once they become homeless because that should be enough of a label to define a person who has no physical address. But then, I have actually been homeless & I actually do depend on the government to send me a monthly check in order that I can live a better life than I did before. I waited 5 years to get approved. Before I was approved, I was stealing food from grocery stores. Anyone can afford to live by the ocean if they lower their standard of living. If you wanted to be there, that's where you'd be. But I can tell you that it's the place where a lot of people get their 1st taste of homelessness. I don't think you could hack it. Why blame Democrats in Sacramento? They are not inviting the homeless to come to Cali. It's the homeless & shelter staff who delude themselves will visions of California Dreamin'!

Sheebe

This is good news? Most don't go there. Is conditions for one to sleep there. 20 more beds? How kind of them. They need more than a building of strangers just to sleep and stay warm. What happened about the tiny homes for our Vets? Did that ever happen? Seems feet are dragging and yet, Democrats in office did this. No one has a better idea? Guess not.

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