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City Staff Visits San Luis Obispo Low-Barrier Homeless Shelter

Part of continuing research into future Bakersfield shelter

The City of Bakersfield continues to work on finding a location for a low-barrier homeless shelter and this week, City staff members visited a San Luis Obispo County shelter that has served as inspiration for a future site in Bakersfield.

Assistant City Managers Jacqui Kitchen and Chris Huot led a group of staff that included Public Works Director Nick Fidler and Community Development Coordinator Nina Carter on a visit to 40 Prado, a shelter facility in San Luis Obispo. Members from Kern County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services also attended the visit.

The shelter's Deputy Director, Grace McIntosh, showed staff how clients are processed when they arrive at the 100-bed facility.

McIntosh gave staff a tour of the facility including the dormitories, areas where some on-site health care services are provided and how they are administered, as well as an outdoor green space, a kennel, and the site's kitchen. There is even a laundry on-site, run by a former client.

Other outreach and services are available to clients at the facility in order to help them transition to temporary and later, permanent housing.

McIntosh also explained ways the shelter has served as an asset to the surrounding neighborhood, even offering its campus to host various services for the community at times.

While there are some differences between 40 Prado and the plans for the Bakersfield shelter -- for example, 40 Prado allows families, including children, while the Bakersfield location would only serve adults, both singles and couples -- the S.L.O. facility is one of the shelters City staff has drawn the most inspiration from.

The City continues to work on addressing the homeless issue using its three-part approach:

  1. Acknowledge the crisis;
  2. Strengthen our local providers;
  3. Implement Public Safety & Vital Services Measure funding (Measure N) to create new programs.