Valley Voice – Homelessness in the Kern River Valley

In the Lake Isabella area, we are experiencing a huge influx of homeless/transient people. There is a lot of documentation in the form of pictures to support this statement. There are some places that stand out as real problem areas, namely the Kern Valley Plaza, Webb Recycling, Taco Bell and the former Bank of America building.
These people loiter around business areas, trespass on private property, panhandle the public, take grocery carts from businesses and use them for transporting their belongings, and then leave litter and empty carts all over the area. There have also been many burglaries and acts of vandalism.
All of this is intimidating to the people who want to shop here and support local businesses. It is getting worse every day. One such person, who came here from Texas, stated that he saw a story on the internet that encouraged people to come to Lake Isabella, Calif., “where you get free food and can buy all the drugs you could ever want.” There are also pictures that who a van with Florida plates parked in the Vons parking lot, containing four people. We observed them piling out of the van with signs and immediately going to four different corners to panhandle. They were laughing and having a lot of fun!
It’s very sad to see this happen to an area that has so much to offer. Is there really no solution?
The pathway to finding a solution for the problems in the Lake Isabella area is to illustrate them. To use an old adage, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” There is strength in numbers. “See something, say something.”
CALL, CALL, CALL: Law enforcement, fire department, Code Compliance, the staff of local officials, our County Supervisor’s office. The problems can’t be addressed if they are unaware of the situation. Document what you see. Take a picture if you can, or use another method to support the facts in some way. Join an organization such as Lake Isabella Bodfish Property Owners Association (LIBPOA). The goal is to make our community better. It can help to make your voice heard and can make a difference.
We have the ability to reverse all the bad and ugly issues confronting our valley if we unite. The difficult part is finding sources that can give us direction and some real, applicable suggestions.
We can have what we all want…a safe, prosperous, friendly community where we will be proud to raise our children. The bad things didn’t happen overnight, and the solutions will take some time.

Ted Brummer

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