In a press release Tuesday, the Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK) announced that they received a $5 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund. This grant will be used in partnership with the Housing Authority and the County of Kern to build housing for the homeless community. The release states that Kern County has a quarter of the homeless population nationally.
Bakersfield Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative found that 1,948 people were experiencing homelessness in April 2023, and 52 percent of them were unsheltered then, according to the BKRHC website. Funding like this from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund can directly help to lower those numbers.
The Bezos Day 1 Families Fund awards money every year to organizations working to help the homeless community. According to their website, since 2018, they have awarded $639.1 million to organizations. This year, CAPK was one of 38 non-profits across the nation to get one.
“We are deeply grateful for the Day 1 Families Fund grant, and we’re excited to partner with the County of Kern and the Housing Authority of Kern County to make a meaningful impact,” said Jeremy T. Tobias, Chief Executive Officer of CAPK. “With this opportunity, CAPK is committed to providing stable, supportive housing to the resident families of Kern County, addressing the root causes of homelessness through a comprehensive approach. This partnership exemplifies our mission to empower individuals and transform lives. Together, we will ensure that the housing project is a place of hope and transformation for those in need.”
According to the release, the plan is to build a 31-unit space with one and two-bedroom units. Tobias also stated the money would be used for comprehensive case management as well, along with other public spaces for gatherings. This plan came from CAPK, the Housing Authority of Kern County, and the County of Kern discussing potential plans for the money when they were invited to apply.
“They were developing a project which we felt matched up well with the grant funding. We joined in partnership with them to develop a project, which is the housing units for families facing homelessness,” said Tobias.
The project will house homeless families with an income level less than 30 or 40 percent of the area’s median income, according to the release. The families will also have access to mental health counseling, addiction treatment, and job training.
“We’re excited to develop a project such as this. It will be a unique project for the community. It’s a large investment in the community. It’s an acknowledgment of the work we do at CAPK,” said Tobias. “More importantly, it’s an investment in our entire community, and we’re proud to be the conduit for that investment the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund is making here in our community.”