Kern County looking to help the homeless with a census surve

Mario Saldaña, Digital Content Editor

On Jan. 26 the Kern County Homeless Collaborative held a census throughout the day in Bakersfield to survey people who are currently homeless, and a group volunteering for the census were located here at Bakersfield College.

The group that collected information for the census were located by the GET bus transit center where two women, Paulette Rodriguez and Danyel Owens, stood out from 4 a.m. till 8 a.m., waiting for anyone who was homeless that would be willing to take a five-minute survey about their living situation.

The census was funded by United Way of Kern County and is also mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Early development known as HUD.  The purpose was to have an ideal count of the homeless in Bakersfield to look at what type of programs can be funded to help the homeless population and to locate where most of the homeless population lives and how they can set up services closer to them.

The survey they gave out was completely voluntary; they wanted to make sure people were comfortable on taking the census and explained that it was just strictly for data and information for anyone who feared that it was a way to track them or to get into trouble.

The survey asked short questions on an individual’s sleeping and housing arrangement. Some of the questions were if they have a place to stay, if they have a spot where they frequently go to, and what they use to stay warm.

Participants who filled out the survey throughout the four-hour station were treated with free breakfast burritos and clothing accessories like gloves and beanies.

Throughout Bakersfield, volunteers that helped collect the data were scattered all over the city to locate individuals who were homeless by having a station like the one that was located in BC and volunteers who would walk around on foot to find more people who were willing to take the survey.

When asked about how their station was going, Paulette Rodriguez explained how many people completed the survey.

“We started here around 3:45 in the morning, and we saw more active walkers like people who live in the neighborhood, but I think we’re starting to get more traffic now,” she said.

She also explained about the group of people she helped.

“It’s been kind of a mix. We’ve been seeing many young adults, to adults who are in their 40’s or 50’s. BC has a non-traditional demographic so that’s why we get a diverse group of people.”

Days later from the census, there have been multiple attempts to reach the Kern County Homeless Collaborative for more information on the data they have collected, but they have not yet concluded all their findings.

If you have any questions or need more information about the census or Kern County Homeless Collaborative Paulette Rodriguez and Danyel Owens are located in the Student Life Services.