Homeless shelters overcoming COVID-19

Dunia Cantu, Reporter

Two shelters in Bakersfield have been affected by COVID-19, but they are not letting it stop them from giving back and keeping the homeless community safe. 

The meal services and programs at The Mission at Kern County remain open because it is defined as an essential service to the community. According to The Mission at Kern County’s website, it has increased handwashing and physical distancing, and has introduced staggered meal times. It has also implemented a new restriction.

As the website states, “One additional, significant change is the requirement that all men, women, and children who are in our residential programs remain on property at all times in order to limit the possible impact to both our guests and staff and the surrounding neighborhoods. Our hope is this ‘self-quarantine’ of our entire campus will allow us to limit the spread both within our campus community and in our neighborhood.”

Even though The Mission at Kern County is not accepting in-person volunteers, it is still accepting donations. 

“None of us know what tomorrow looks like, but as we choose to care for our vulnerable in our community, we are choosing to demonstrate love for our neighbor,” Executive Director Carlos Baldovinos said. 

The Bakersfield Homeless Center is also providing necessities and services to the homeless community. 

“We are able to provide daily meals for anyone in the community that needs a meal. Breakfast and dinner is served daily to the homeless community. Food, water and resources such as clothing and/or hygiene items are also available,” External Affairs Manager Cindy Lyday said. 

Although the doors to the shelter are closed, those that need it can still receive help.

“If the person needs to enter the campus, they have their temperature taken to be sure they do not have a fever. They are then asked to go to the handwashing stations to wash their hands before proceeding,” Lyday said.

As for the community helping, Lyday said, “The community has been outstanding in showing up and helping BHC and the families we serve. We are accepting all essential donations at this time such as food, diapers, baby wipes, hygiene items, and cleaning supplies. We appreciate any help we receive.”