We exist to help those in our community experiencing homelessness and to flood them with support through established resources and the love of God. We engage and assess people experiencing homelessness and then link verified individuals to the appropriate services, navigate them through the housing process, and provide case management upon housing. We help people experiencing homelessness overcome their debilitating circumstances by offering mental, physical, and spiritual support.
Our cultural identity is to heal and humanize homelessness. We believe that every human is of equal value in God's eyes and deserves our respect and the right to a life free from affliction. Society dehumanizes people experiencing homelessness. We create a culture that minimizes homelessness and maximizes humanity by humanizing adversity and empowering resilience through the stories of people that have experienced homelessness.
Flood was born from a community group at The Bridge Bible Church. In 2006, the community group decided to go out to the park, hold a worship service, and offer food to those in need. The group wanted to form a relationship and to show Jesus' love to the many people experiencing homelessness in Kern County. They fed and served a few people and decided to go back the next week. The same people in need showed back up, and when asked why they came back, they said, "because you know our names."
Serving in outreach for the next two years and wanting to help homelessness, the group became Flood Bakersfield Ministries in 2008 as a non-profit organization. We realized the importance of building trust and relationships with those experiencing homelessness and witnessed that empathy could improve their trajectory. We then began providing outreach and supportive housing services, becoming a crucial part of the regional homeless collaborative.
Since 2011, Flood is the primary provider of street outreach in Kern County. In our street outreach efforts, we uniquely partner with law enforcement, city and county code enforcement, local businesses, and other service providers to respond to homelessness. We have also grown to be a primary partner with the Housing Authority of the County of Kern to provide supportive services for their housing programs targeted to the chronically homeless. We are a member of the Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative and serve on various committees, workgroups, advisory, governing, and executive boards. We have grown from a handful of staff to over 35 today.
Each year, the Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative conducts a Point-In-Time count, which involves hundreds of outreach workers and volunteers scanning Kern County to identify the number of people experiencing homelessness. Since 2017, Kern County's population of people experiencing homelessness has grown by 95%. The 2020 Point-In-Time count revealed a 19% increase in homelessness from the year prior. Despite a decrease in the influx of people documented as experiencing homelessness from 2018 to 2019, following economic casualties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, homelessness in America is predicted to increase by 45% in 2021. The reality is that there will always be people experiencing a form of homelessness. The work we do today may not meet all of today's needs, but we plan for it to assist the needs of tomorrow.