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As stimulus checks rollout, the Mission at Kern County offers tips on how the homeless population can get theirs

"I'm going to get a new place."
homeless VO
Posted at 2:40 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 16:40:03-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — As the third stimulus checks continue to rollout, many expect them to be either mailed to a home address or deposited into their bank account, but what about for the homeless population?

Many of them are left wondering if they qualify, and how they'd go about that, because here at the Mission at Kern County, the executive director says 80% are eligible.

“Because of COVID a lot of people lost their jobs, they lost basically everything."

Including James Hobson, who says he lost his job due to the pandemic and is now homeless, but help has not only come in the form of the Mission at Kern County but also stimulus checks.

“I'm saving them so that once I get myself situated, I'm gonna get a new place.”

Hobson says no matter the number of stimulus checks, it helps him reach that goal of leaving the homeless shelter. This is what the Mission at Kern County hopes other guests will do with their stimulus money.

“Let's say someone gets into a rapid housing situation that is where their first month or two rent is covered utilities are covered. It helps them get in there. But if they get a check like this that could really propel them for a month or two,” said Steve Peterson, with the Mission at Kern County. n

Steve Peterson with the Mission at Kern County says that when the first round of stimulus rolled out last year, they saw a slight decrease in clients.

“I think sometimes some of those people would leave and use that money maybe for a hotel room for a few nights then they'd come on back,” said Peterson.

As far as fixing the homeless issue, the Mission's Executive Director Carlos Baldovinos says the money is not the best for long-term situations.

“Short term it can be a help, right? I mean with anything it was meant for stimulus it was meant for short-term help, but surely it's not going to cure poverty or homelessness in the long term.”

But for those needing that short-term help, or those experiencing homelessness may qualify for an economic impact payment with certain requirements.

All you have to do is file something called an EIP return, and for those who don't have a home address or a bank account, this money can be sent to your local homeless shelter.

For those who don't have a phone or access to the internet to sign up for the payments, the shelter can help.

“My caseworker, he had me go online and he helped me apply for it, and that's how I ended up getting it,” said Hobson.

If you or someone you know is in need of information, how to apply can be found here, information on the Mission of Kern County can be found here.