Many different eviction prevention, counseling as well as rapid rehousing services are available in Kern County. There are local businesses, non-profit organizations, law firms, charities, and government agencies that combine resources to help tenants as well as the homeless.
No fewer than 10 different organizations are part of the Kern County Homeless Collaborative. Some of them are listed below. Each one may use a combinations of financial support from federal grants, counseling, or even just plain old referrals in an effort to prevent an eviction.
When a family, or individual, is currently living in conditions that meet the criteria of the McKinney Vento Act, then rapid rehousing may be available. In general, this type of help is for families living in a shelter, people living in a car or in a park in the city of Bakersfield, or individuals that are relying on motel vouchers from the county. There may be other scenarios covered by the Act too, such as someone living on the couch of a friend. In all cases, the following may be provided.
The Homeless Collaborative, since it is made up of a variety of non-profits, will also arrange general counseling. This will help the prospective tenant with budgeting and overall life skills. Non-profits such as Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Bakersfield (address at 2001 F Street or dial (661) 324-96280 work with the client to help them avoid a future eviction.
Another service available is information on which areas of the county currently have low income housing available. The Homeless Collaborative initiative is also made up on local landlords of both private and public housing units. Since it can be hard to find an affordable apartment (which is critical to stability and ending a cycle of evictions) this resource can be invaluable. There is even information on properties that may place immigrants, single moms, or the elderly.
Over the year, agencies have availed themselves of HPRP funds as well as grants from ESG in order to reduce the number of homelessness in the community by up to ten percent. This goal was met by providing a pro-active solution to stopping evictions and keeping the tenant housed.
As part of this, there is financial help provided to solve an emergency. Since that type of assistance is very limited, much more likely a form of non-monetary support is used for homeless prevention. One agency that can help in this capacity is the Bakersfield Homeless Center (call (661) 322-9199) and this office provides referrals and information.
The main resources to stop an eviction are as follows. Tenants should also try to ask for help as soon as possible, before the landlord provides them with a 5 or 30 day vacate notice.
Most of what is noted above are crisis type programs. When a tenant is qualified, they may be assisted in short order as the agencies do want to prevent the eviction. If a family is living in poverty and needs more long term assistance for their specific needs, this is when the Housing Authority in Bakersfield may be an option. That phone number is (661) 832-3206. Case managers can review HUD programs such as section 8 or supportive housing for the disabled as well.
For more information, the main center can be reached at (661) 834-2734, or dial the coalition at (661) 322-9199. These agencies may be able to refer residents to eviction assistance programs, and of course tenants can call the other Kern County resources noted above.
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