There are basic living necessities that every human concerns themselves with fulfilling before they continue with their journey of life. A vast amount of individuals who lacked these basic needs were homeless, many who were heard and reported by a turnout of approximately 400 volunteers for this year’s Kern County Point-In-Time Homeless Count. Homelessness in the Kern County has been one of the major concerns in the area and to take initiative of the issue, Thursday afternoon volunteers counted how many homeless people were spending the night in shelters. The following day on Friday morning those same volunteers went out into the Kern County area to count for those who were unsheltered.
“The PIT homeless count is an accurate assessment of the homeless population, their needs, demographics and then the Bakersfield-Kern Regional Collaborative uses this information to serve the population,” said Ian Sharples, director of public affairs.
Alongst counting the populated homeless, the unsheltered individuals were surveyed questions about their state of living such as their sleeping conditions, physical and mental health conditions, more specifically if they were depressed, had HIV, AIDS. Homeless were also asked how and what precautions they are taking to suit themselves and their living standards.
“There is no exact number for how many people were homeless, however, assessments will soon be looked over and an estimate will be announced on the HUD during the Spring,” said Jan Lemmuchi, chair of the point-in-time count committee. The 400 volunteers that were participating were split into sixty-five teams and each team having up to four people. The teams were sent out to count for the homeless and were also sent with bags full of basic needs that would be helpful to the homeless such as hygienic products, socks, and hats. One thing the volunteers concluded from the homeless whom they communicated when asked if they could change anything or have something their way in life it is to have jobs. They weren’t answering they wished to be rich or just to be given an easy route to live more stable. A lot of the homeless were found to be willing to work but are having a hard time digging their way out of being homeless because they’re too busy and worried about when they’ll get the next meal or shower, especially now that the season is very cold and it’s hard to find a warm place to sleep at night. If they could receive some help in attaining these basic and vital needs to get by then perhaps they’d be more occupied in building a resume for themselves. Many of these homeless people want to be heard and given a shot at working while being persistent. Anahu Cowens, a homeless man who resides in Southwest Bakersfield wakes up everyday and prays that he will even be fortunate enough to receive one meal that day and explains that he is appreciative of any help or food he receives because he often feels uncared for.
“People pass by homeless all the time and they look at us like we’re nothing but an object and we’re not. We are human beings too. I often feel forgotten so any help I get, I am grateful to receive because I’m also being acknowledged as someone” Cowens said.