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City awarded nearly $2 million in grant money this year to address homelessness

New grant to the city will help the homeless population in Bakersfield. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Homelessness is a growing issue in Bakersfield and the city is working to address it with grant money it has received this year.

“We are painfully aware of the fact that there has been a 46 percent growth in the homeless count and that it disturbs our citizens so we are attempting to address it as best we can,” said Alan Tandy, Bakersfield’s city manager.

He said this year alone, the city received a cumulative of nearly $2 million dollars in local, state, and federal grant money, which will benefit local agencies that provide services to the homeless.

On December 12th, the California Homeless Coordinating And Financing Council informed the city it would receive a $1.2 million grant. The award is called Homeless Emergency Aid Program and will benefit The Mission at Kern County.

“This is supplemental money in addition to their regular budgets,” Tandy said. “Their regular budgets probably consist of ten different revenue sources from donors, from a variety of state and federal agencies.”

Carlos Baldovinos, executive director for The Mission at Kern County said the money will help expand their services.

“Through this grant we’re actually going to add 40 new permanent shelter beds for men,” Baldovinos said.

He said the money will also contribute to the renovation of a community resource center.

“That community resource center is going to be able to help people stay away from the elements, but also connect them to services, whether it’s mental health or legal services,” he said.

Baldovinos said they will continue using the resources provided to them to help those less fortunate in the community.

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