FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Anna Laven, BKRHC Executive Director, 310-592-8557 (cell), anna.laven@bkrhc.org

Bakersfield/Kern awarded 229 Emergency Housing Vouchers

BKRHC, Housing Authority to collaborate; help address and prevent homelessness

BAKERSFIELD, CA – The Housing Authority of the County of Kern (HA) today announced it has been awarded 229 Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The vouchers are funded by the American Rescue Plan of 2021, which provides more than $1.9 trillion in relief to address the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Housing Authority looks forward to working with BKRHC to implement this program and help our neighbors experiencing homelessness transition to permanent housing,” said Stephen Pelz, Executive Director of the Housing Authority and chair of the BKRHC Executive Board. “We continue to see increased demand for homeless services and support. These vouchers could not have come at a more important time.”

“These 229 vouchers have the potential to make a significant impact on homelessness in the Bakersfield/Kern County region,” commented Deborah Johnson, BKRHC Governing Board Chair. “Our challenge is finding available housing units for voucher recipients. We must double down and expand housing inventory in the City of Bakersfield and Kern County if we want to see assistance programs like these EHVs succeed.”

To be eligible for the Emergency Housing Vouchers, individuals or families must be:

  • Homeless
  • At-risk of Homelessness
  • Fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking
  • Recently homeless and for whom providing rental assistance will prevent the family’s homelessness or having high risk of housing instability, including clients in rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing programs

The vouchers provide eighteen months of funding and are renewable for those that remain in housing during the entire period. The vouchers also include funding for case management support, a vital service that helps prevent homelessness recidivism so that individuals and families remain in their homes.

“We know how critical wraparound services are to ensuring that individuals and families who find a permanent place to call home are able to stay there,” added Anna Laven, Ed.D., BKRHC Executive Director. “Case management is proven to increase the effectiveness of housing assistance and dramatically decrease homelessness recidivism. Combining case management with these EHVs will help increase their effectiveness, helping our neighbors experiencing homelessness not only achieve, but also maintain and sustain permanent housing.”

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ABOUT THE BAKERSFIELD-KERN REGIONAL HOMELESS COLLABORATIVE

The Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative (BKRHC) is an independent nonprofit organization composed of individuals, organizations and public agencies dedicated to address homelessness in our community. Through collaborative planning and action, BKRHC works to reduce the impacts of homelessness and build a future where every person in Kern County has a permanent place to call home.

ABOUT THE HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE COUNTY OF KERN

The Housing Authority is an independent, local government agency providing safe, affordable housing to thousands of Kern County residents through special programs serving families, individuals, senior citizens, Veterans, the disabled, homeless persons, farm workers and emancipated foster youth. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for low-income residents of Kern County by providing safe, affordable housing and assisting residents towards self-sufficiency and home ownership.  In addition to meeting the housing needs of nearly 20,000 low income Kern County residents, the Housing Authority partners with other local agencies to help residents become self-sufficient.  The Authority is an active developer of affordable housing, acquiring and building housing to help meet the affordable housing needs in Kern County.

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