BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative has announced that it will not be conducting an in-person homeless count next year due to COVID-19.
The organization said that for its 2021 Point in Time Count, which is scheduled to take place Jan. 26-27, it will instead be using existing case management data from the Bakersfield/Kern County Homeless Management Information System to report the number of unsheltered people experiencing homelessness in Kern County.
The collaborative said all emergency shelters and navigations centers in the county will provide point-in-time data on their clients, as in past PIT counts.
“Our top priority is to help protect the health and safety of our volunteers and neighbors experiencing homelessness,” said BKRHC Executive Director Anna Laven. “Our revised PIT Count methodology will help us accomplish this while also providing an accurate snapshot of the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in the Bakersfield/Kern County region.”
In order to use an alternative PIT Count methodology, BKRHC said it had to first validate the accuracy of its Homeless Management Information System data against historical PIT Count data to ensure that the count will be accurate.
“Our investments to expand street outreach, improve system training and focus on data-driven decision making have dramatically improved the quality of data in HMIS,” Laven said. “HMIS today provides us with a much clearer and accurate picture of who experiences homelessness in Kern County. This data is key to our efforts to address homelessness and help our neighbors find a permanent place to call home.”