The Renegade Rip

Former homeless talk to keep others off the street

Mario Saldaña, Reporter

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Bakersfield College held a coffee conversation for parents of youth hosted by The Homeless Youth Working Group, where many groups discussed what they called a big epidemic, which is the homeless youth.

They offered information and resources to those on the verge of becoming homeless and what can make an individual homeless. For example: problems at home, abuse, drugs, rejection and many other factors. After gathering information, they found that 87 young individuals are unaccompanied here in Kern County, which is a 71 percent increase from 2015.

Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Garden Pathways, Sheriff Department, and Gay Lesbian Youth Center are groups that are helping with the problem of getting homeless youth off the street, and help them to become successful.

Steve Peterson, who is with the Mission of Kern County as program director, spoke at the event and gave a bit of information of what Mission is and how men, women and children that are homeless can get help.

They help these young individuals with programs and shelters, serving meals every day, giving out clothing, showers, and referrals.

“Last year we housed about 1,600 unique individual men in our shelter and through working with kern county homeless collaborative many other agencies were able to house 450 of those men into some kind of housing.”

They brought in a small number of students and young people who are part of the program that have been helped to speak about their experience being homeless and how they were helped by these programs.

Each of the students gave a small testimony on how the program helped them through a rough time in their life, and with each story, which some found hard to tell, was met with cheers from the audience for having the strength to tell their story.

Between the testimonies, they showed a clip from “The Trafficked Life” which is a film directed by Michael Fagans and in the film he addresses the problems of human trafficking here in Bakersfield and how many individuals are affected by it.

The clip shown was of two ladies who were former prostitutes and dealt with abuse and other factors to push them to that kind of life.

At the ending of the of the event many of the groups which are Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Garden Pathways, Sheriff Department, and Gay Lesbian Youth Center gave a Q&A.

Peterson first read questions that they had ready from people who weren’t at the event, and then moved to the audience who had any questions to ask these individual groups about what they were and what kind of help they could provide to an individual who fall into their category.

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Former homeless talk to keep others off the street