New affordable housing development in Bakersfield seeks to help homeless people
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) – When traveling around Bakersfield, homelessness is a common sight to see. The Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative indicates that in February 2022 there were approximately 1,600 homeless people in Bakersfield.
To better assist the homeless, Golden Empire Affordable Housing has opened a new development designed to provide low-income families with affordable housing. 23ABC’s Breanna Polk was at the grand opening and brings the latest update on this new project.
Pioneer Cottages is the name of the new affordable housing development in Bakersfield. The facility was created to help members of the community who need housing assistance.
Stephen Pelz, executive director of the Kern County Housing Authority, explains that changes in the housing market have directly affected the situation of homeless people.
“We all know affordable housing is a real challenge and I felt like Bakersfield was affordable and Kern County was affordable for a long time. It’s not as affordable as it used to be. »
These concerns are behind the vision for the new affordable housing development just off Oswell Street and Pioneer Drive in East Bakersfield.
Planning began in 2018 with the idea of serving households whose income is at or below 60% of the region’s median income. Pelz explains that while market-priced housing is needed in the area, affordable housing is also needed to ensure that more residents have a roof over their heads.
However, Pelz says that before executing this project, they had to overcome a number of hurdles.
“It was a challenge. He is still developing affordable housing, but particularly through the pandemic. It took us four years to get to today. Lots of tries, lots of hurdles, lots of delays, but we’re so excited to be here and celebrate affordable new homes for our families in need.
Pelz says the Pioneer Cottages comprise nine one-story garden-style quadruplexes containing 36 one-bedroom units and all units are energy efficient with fridges, stoves, dishwashers, microwaves and dishwashers. energy to offset energy costs.
Stacy Kuwahara, director of Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, says tenants will also have access to onsite services provided by their organization to provide stability in their new homes.
“We are very happy to be working on site and doing the work that we need to do to help our residents here succeed in maintaining their housing and making these houses their home. »
The Pioneer Cottages will also provide residents with interactive services such as adult education classes, skill-building classes and many other activities that Pelz says will help create their own on-site community.
“We know it works. We have a success rate of over 90% when homeless people get permanent housing and stay there for at least two years, at over 90%. That’s really what we want. We want stability for them. We don’t want them back on the streets.
Pelz adds that eighteen of those units are reserved for eligible homeless people under the no place like home program, and tenants are expected to move in within the next two weeks.