Kern County Homeless Collaborative (KCHC) member Flood Bakersfield Ministries has received a $5,000 grant from The Bakersfield Californian Foundation to help with the purchase of incentive items such as snacks, toiletries, bottled water and blankets for unsheltered homeless individuals reached through its U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-funded Street Outreach Program.
Flood was one of 15 nonprofits that received funding for programs that promote mental health, environmental education, animal welfare, or educational opportunities in the community, according to The Bakersfield Californian Foundation's website.
“This community support is so important in reducing homelessness and addressing the needs of the mentally ill in our community," Flood's Executive Director, Kim Albers, said. "The incentive items assist us in beginning a conversation that often leads to long term life change” for the homeless on our streets, she said, adding that Flood's street outreach effort is to have "consistent contact" with approximately 200 individuals per year.
Flood Minstries provides access and support to transition the permanently disabled out of homelessness into housing, said Albers, who also is the Chair of the KCHC's Steering Committee. "Housing is often the starting point to life transformation that allows the individual to address barriers such as mental illness or chronic health conditions."
She said Flood's roving street outreach team works with the unsheltered homeless it encounters to build relationships based on trust, with the goal of encouraging each individual to access community resources designed to improve their quality of life.
Earlier this year, Flood received $25,000 in grant funding from Kaiser Permanente to coordinate health services for unsheltered homeless who are transitioning into housing.
Assisting the chronically homeless to get off the streets and into permanent supportive housing is a top priority for HUD, which in recent years has awarded between $3 million and $5 million annually in Continuum of Care Program Funding to Bakersfield/Kern for the purpose of providing housing and supportive services to the homeless.