The goal of the InfoLine in Kern County is to help the working poor. It is a referral system set up. Callers can get information on local resources that are available for families with children as well as the vulnerable, such as seniors and disabled. There are also programs for the sick, hungry, and homeless among others. While there is free information on many programs that are offered, such as a service referred to as a pantry for Groceries, some of those under highest demand in Kern County include help to prevention evictions, free food from a pantry, and of course job placement.
There are some cases in which referrals can be given to local agencies in Bakersfield and the county. Some offer grants or funds may be available for household expenses, such as back rent or heating bills. In these instances, the charities in Kern County may have some of its own money for these costs, or they will refer eligible clients to financial aid programs. As there may be funding available from other government agencies or non-profits.
When it comes to housing, staff at the Kern County InfoLine try to help residents access shelter or transition to permanent housing. However, the goal is to always prevent an eviction to begin with, as that is less expensive for the agencies that provide help, and of course it is much better for the struggling family as well.
As noted, the number one goal is on homeless prevention. This will help families or individuals that are at risk of eviction, and allow them to continue to live in their home or apartment. There may be limited funding for back rent as part of this, or case managers will try to mediate a solution with the landlord. More on California homeless prevention programs.
Shelters in Kern County are for families in crisis or that are on the streets and do not have a place to live. There are emergency shelters located for individuals with no other options, and some sites are for veterans or children. So they may offer specialized services. and the Kern County InfoLine support services can direct callers to these locations.
Anyone in a short term housing unit will be given access to advice and ongoing support services. This will range from everything from food or a meal to educational support such as GED or job training. This is for those who are working to obtain permanent housing.
The short term housing will also arrange employment services. This will assist individuals who are enrolled in the programs, and people can work with specialists on finding jobs in California, furthering their education, and advancing their careers.
The low income and homeless can receive referrals to stabilization services from the Kern County InfoLine. This will help tenants who have entered permanent housing and it is designed to help them remain housed. Parts of this include Rapid Re-Housing, which places families directly in permanent homes or low income apartments so that they can avoid a lengthy stay in shelter. Employment is also available for adults and youth as they work towards all parts of job readiness.
When possible, some clients will receive a rental subsidy which allows them to pay their rent or deposits on time, and will help them focus on saving money and becoming self sufficient. During this time, case managers work with clients to develop plans for their long term stability.
Medical needs is also in demand in Kern County. The InfoLine can direct callers to everything from medical or dental clinics to Medi-Cal application sites. There is care for working poor families, whether they have health insurance or not. So a number of resources are arranged, and the staff from the referral system can provide suggestions.
Kern County InfoLine support services receives details on local charities or churches for basic needs. They are aware of a number of new or gently used clothes from donations by the community. The centers in the Kern County InfoLine support services will accept only gently used or new clothing (professional, casual, school items or dressy) and shoes as well as coats of all sizes and styles. The sizes are for infant through adult. They also offer housewares items such as towels, blankets and sheets.
Food banks in Kern County offer supplemental and emergency groceries to families and low income individuals. There is everything from canned goods to soups, meats, pasta, and more. Customers may visit the food pantry a limited number of times per month and year.
Volunteers from Bakersfield help the charity as part of Fill a Bag of Groceries. This involves local food drives, and the community may donate everything from soup to peanut butter or baby formula for infants. The main number is 661-323-5663.
Most of the food at the local pantries are donated through individuals or local businesses, and there are also fund raisers that take place. Volunteers that work with charities or Bakersfield area churches pick up items such as frozen meat, produce and other groceries from area stores or restaurants each week. They also have special training to handle the food items properly so it can be properly served.
Employment assistance can include job search basics and development, such as workplace ethics as well as general career exploration. There can also be limited paid, on-the-job training arranged through internships. All training is coupled with case management support to help a participant set and reach goals. Many of the programs from Kern County InfoLine support services also offer an education component.
Many other referrals can be given out. The InfoLine team has details on literally thousands of both government and charitable programs that struggling families can apply too. Whether it is financial aid, a hot meal, day care, and much more, call for details. Hundreds of people call on the Kern County InfoLine support services each day. They can learn about job training, substance abuse intervention, school programs, and more. Residents can dial 211 for referrals.