Homeless programs in Kern County get nationwide recognition

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - When it comes to preventing homelessness, Kern County has received national attention for its successes.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness recognized Bakersfield and Kern County for having huge success when it comes to homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing.

"We re-housed over 500 families since 2009 when that money became available and prevented about 275 other families from ending up homeless to begin with," Bakersfield Homeless Collaborative spokesperson Louis Medina said.

In 2009, the City of Bakersfield and Kern County received a total of $3.1 million to fight homelessness. The funding for the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program was provided from the stimulus funding that came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The funding for the program will end this July. The Alliance is trying to get support from congressional leaders to keep the funding coming in. Bakersfield and Kern County was used as an example that the program works.

"They fashioned a statement to present to congressional representatives, The statement basically says that Bakersfield and Kern County rapidly re-housed more than 500 families since 2009. That helped put a 12% dent on homelessness between 2009 and 2011 despite double digit unemployment," Medina said.

The success stories will be showcased to urge Congress to provide $2.2 billion for grants nationwide in 2013.