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By ONME News
In this episode of News Too Real: Success Stories in California Homelessness Epidemic, producer host, Julia Dudley Najieb, reviews the appalling statistics that are also dismal nationwide concerning the rate of homelessness in California.
As the crisis reveals that over 60,000 people in California do not have homes to go to at night, there is a sliver of good news coming out of Kern County city, Bakersfield, Calif., who has achieved a rate of "functional zero" homelessness in its city; this information was revealed during an Ethnic Media Service (EMS) news briefing last week.
During this News Too Real episode, Dudley Najieb highlights two experts from California featured during the EMS news brief: Mary Scott, Client Services Director of The Open Door Network out of Bakersfield, Calif, explains who they achieved the almost "zero" homelessness rate in their city.
Thereafter, Matthew Lewis of YIMBY out of Berkeley, Calif. gives a brief history of housing and racism that has led to today's homelessness crisis in California.
Mary Scott serves as an executive team leader of the Open Door Network (formerly Bakersfield Homeless Center and the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault.) During her tenure, she has been responsible for the program design and development of the various aftercare case management programs and expansion of the housing programs of The Open Door Network. She has participated in the Bakersfield Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative Committees (BKRHC) for the past eight years partnering with community organizations that are working with the homeless population. Mary was a part of the team in Bakersfield, CA that reached functional zero for chronic homelessness in 2020. Mary Scott is recognized as a Black Leader in the movement to end homelessness in Kern County.
After a ten-year career as a broadcast and print journalist, Matthew Lewis moved into advocacy communications with a focus on environmental justice, energy policy, and climate change. From 2008 through 2012, he was Director of Communications for the ClimateWorks Foundation, an international philanthropic effort launched by the Hewlett and Packard Foundations to support global pollution-reduction and clean energy policy efforts. In 2012, he joined Next Generation, where he helped manage campaigns related to early childhood health, poverty alleviation, climate policy, and clean air. Matthew is a YIMBY homeowner who believes there’s plenty of room on his block for more neighbors