Cold snap puts Bakersfield homeless at risk

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) With temperatures falling well below the freezing level, homeless people who can't find a place to stay in Bakersfield have nowhere else to sleep but outdoors.

"I don't want to die on the street," said one 57-year-old homeless man along Baker Street who did want to be identified. "I'm not the only one, there's a lot of people out here."

And he appeared to be right. Though the Bakersfield Homeless Center and The Mission of Kern County were nearby, those two shelter were at or over capacity. The Bakersfield Homeless Center exceeded its' 174 bed capacity. More than half were children.

Staff placed cots in the family room to accommodate extra people. It was a similar situation at the Mission.

Donations are needed to help clients stay warm.

"Blankets, jackets, gloves, hats, toiletry kits for those clients that may need that. But blankets for sure and jackets at this moment is what we need," said Carlos Baldvinos, executive director with the Mission.

Besides dealing with the elements, sleeping outdoors is also dangerous. "It does get crazy at night," said a 19-year-old man who goes by the name "Q". He said that at times, he's been awakened by people under the influence looking for drugs.

As long as the cold weather continues and shelters are full, some homeless said all they an do is hope to make it through the night.