President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) on March 27, 2020 to help the Nation respond to the coronavirus outbreak. The CARES Act made available additional Emergency Solutions Grant Coronavirus (ESG-CV) funds to supplement ESG funding provided under the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Public Law 116-94). These special ESG-CV funds are to be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) among individuals and families who are homeless or receiving homeless assistance; and to support additional homeless assistance and homelessness prevention activities to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have lost jobs, and therefore sources of income to maintain rent and household expenses. Many households have become months behind in rent, and are at risk of losing housing and becoming homeless. On May 20, 2020 City Council approved an amendment to the 19-20 Action Plan to create the ESG-CV Homeless Prevention Project. This project will work to alleviate hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic by allocating $1,115,407 in ESG-CV funds to Homeless Prevention activities within the City of Bakersfield. These activities will include the provision of financial assistance for 3-6 months to qualifying households. This includes rental assistance, payment of past-due rent and utility payments, and rental deposits. Funding will also provide case management for program participants. The program will serve approximately 100-150 households (this number will depend on the level of assistance each household requires) during the one-year grant term.
ESG-CV Funds will be awarded to Bethany Services, Inc. dba Bakersfield Homeless Center. Bethany Services is the single provider of Homelessness Prevention Services in Kern County and has extensive experience in successfully providing these services through ESG regulations. Bethany Services also has experience working with the City on previous Federal Recovery Programs such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, in which they provided a Rapid Rehousing and Homeless Prevention program for the City.