Who We Are
The Bakersfield Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative, commonly referred to as BKRHC or “the collaborative,” is an independent 501(C)3 nonprofit organization that works to reduce the impacts of homelessness in Kern County through collaborative planning and action that expands access to permanent affordable housing and supportive services.
What We Do
BKRHC includes homelessness service providers, government agencies, advocacy groups, businesses and currently and formerly homeless persons, who bring their expertise from working hands-on, every day with homeless individuals and families to help them obtain permanent housing and get the supportive services they need to reach their full potential.
The collaborative does not provide any services directly to persons experiencing homelessness. Rather, BKRHC works to coordinate programs and services across the continuum of care, so that people experiencing homelessness have the resources and support they need to achieve stability in permanent housing. BKRHC is responsible for developing and coordinating the implementation of the Bakersfield-Kern region’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness. The most current 10-year plan, “Home at Last! Kern County’s Plan to End Homelessness by 2028,” was adopted in 2018.
How We Came To Be
BKRHC was founded as an independent organization in 2019 to serve as the Collaborative Applicant and Fiscal Agent on behalf of the Bakersfield/Kern County Continuum of Care (CoC), the regional U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-recognized CoC responsible for planning and coordinating housing and services for families and individuals experiencing homelessness in the Bakersfield-Kern region.
The collaborative traces its roots to 1998, when a formal Continuum of Care program was launched in Kern County. From 1998 until 2019, the United Way of Kern County served as the Fiscal Agent and Collaborative Applicant on behalf of the Continuum of Care.
BKRHC is led by a six-member Executive Board with fiduciary and legal responsibility for the operations of the organization and managed by a full-time professional staff. The work of CoC is maintained and conducted by a sixteen-member Governing Board, authorized by the Voting Members of the CoC to conduct the work and structure defined in the CoC Governance Charter. The Executive Board and Governing Board fulfill unique and important roles in managing BKRHC and meeting different corporate and policy requirements.
At the end of the day, there isn’t any simple solution to the issue of homelessness, but that doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless. Together, we will reduce the impacts of homelessness and build a future where every person in Kern County has a permanent place to call home.
The Bakersfield City Council and Kern County Board of Supervisors appoint a Kern County Homeless Coalition Task Force to recommend solutions to end homelessness in the region.
Continuum of Care
A formal Continuum of Care (CoC) program is formed. United Way of Kern County is selected to serve as fiscal sponsor and Collaborative Applicant for the CoC.
Kern County Homeless Collaborative
The Kern County Homeless Collaborative (KCHC) is organized. KCHC establishes a “Steering Committee” made up of all Voting Members and Committee Chairs of the Collaborative. KCHC begins to develop the first 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, led by Bakersfield Mayor Harvey L. Hall.
“Home First: the 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness” is adopted.
Point in Time Count
KCHC conducts its first Point in Time (PIT) Count. The PIT Count is not a census of persons experiencing homelessness, but provides a snapshot view of the number of persons experiencing homelessness observed in a 24-hour period. The PIT Count is held in January, the month statistically known to have the highest number of homelessness observations.
The Home First Initiative, HEARTH Act and Subtitle C of Title IV of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act bring focus work of preventing and ending homelessness in Kern County. KCHC focuses on four core strategies:
- Promoting community-wide work including “community data” vs. “agency data”
- Funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, state and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals (including unaccompanied youth) and families, while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families and communities by homelessness
- Promoting access to, and effective utilization of, mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families (with their ongoing input
- Optimizing self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness
KCHC adopts a new Governing Charter, establishing a Governing Board of fifteen members that replaces the Steering Committee. The Governing Charter complies with the most recent federal regulations and guidelines of the HEARTH Act.
The Governing Board explores local gaps and duplication in efforts, increases community coordination and planning, and empowers Committees to focus on the strategic work of ending and preventing homelessness.
Emergency Solution Grants
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires counties and cities to collaborate with their regional CoC to access Emergency Solution Grants for addressing homelessness.
Bakersfield Mayor Harvey L. Hall is honored as the first Governing Board Member Emeritus.
Annual Action Plan
Outcomes of the Home First 10-Year Plan are evaluated, and KCHC creates an Annual Action Plan to provide further structure and accountability. The Annual Action Plan is derived from the Home First plan, reviewed by KCHC committees and approved by its full membership.
Home at Last!
The second 10-year plan, “Home at Last! Kern County’s Plan to End Homelessness by 2028,” is adopted.
Bakersfield Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative
Bakersfield Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative is incorporated as an independent 501(C)3 nonprofit organization.