Bakersfield

Bakersfield’s approach to homeless encampments? Rapid response.

The City of Bakersfield is taking a more aggressive stand against California’s homeless crisis.

Tapping a new pot of money created by the recently-approved Measure N sales tax, Bakersfield is deploying rapid response crews to quickly close down homeless encampments across the city.

The Bakersfield Californian first reported on the work undertaken by crews.

The effort utilizes crews of four or five to follow through on Code Enforcement notices to vacate public spaces occupied by homeless residents in an equipped refuse truck that also tows a Bobcat loader, for heavy-duty cleanup work.

While Bakersfield works to roll out a mobile application, akin to Fresno’s FresGO app, that will aid in filing code enforcement complaints, it is still reliant on old fashioned phone calls to report encampments across the city.

For most cases, Bakersfield officials are eyeing a 24-hour response time to cleanup a site after providing a notice to vacate.

For extreme cases that require a hearing, the city has managed to cut the time between the hearing and cleanup down from two weeks to four days.

A critical hope, Bakersfield Building Director Phil Burns said, is that the ever-presence of crews cleaning up the city’s pop-up encampments will drive the homeless toward services and appropriate housing outlets in the community.

The San Joaquin Valley Sun
Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.