Wasco Tribune - Serving the community since 1970

By Toni DeRosa
Wasco Tribune 

Helping the homeless with jobs


Last updated 2/20/2020 at 7:21pm | View PDF

CalTrans and the Kern Council of Governments are creating a countywide rural area program which will enable the homeless to earn a wage by cleaning up litter on state highways in Kern County such as Highways 43.

This past week Supervisor David Couch, representing the Board of Supervisors, worked with the two agencies to develop the contracts.

Couch has placed homelessness as one of his top priorities since he was elected to the new District 4.

“If you give a person a job, they can pay for housing and pay taxes,” Sal Moretti, Couch’s district director said. “Giving the homeless a job to pay rent even in subsidized housing is a good thing. It’s a hand up, not a hand out.”

“This new program has $75,000 remaining for 2020 and $175,000 budgeted for 2021,” Moretti said.

This homeless program will be integrated into the county’s new navigation center programs as well as the countywide collaborative in helping solve the problem of homelessness.

The navigation center involves services such as mental health, human services and now, paid job skills training. Their work will beautify the community.

“It’s a win-win situation when we use state funds to put Kern County’s homeless population to work cleaning up our local state highways,” Supervisor David Couch said “With the wages that come from this program, these workers from the Bakersfield Homeless Center that are able to work can begin to support themselves and their families again, and at the same time their work makes our community look so much better. It’s all part of the many-layered approach we must take as a community to solve the problem of homelessness.”

There was no official start date given, but Moretti stated that Couch would like to begin the last week in February. More detailed information as to when and where this project will lift off.


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