During an event by a CAA chapter this week, property owners said they would make dozens of units available to Section 8 voucher holders, helping put a dent in chronic homelessness in Kern County.

The 47 units promised by local landlords are expected to be made available by February of next year.

That commitment was made Tuesday, Oct. 16, during the California Landlords Summit on Homelessness in Bakersfield. The event was hosted by the Income Property Association of Kern, a chapter of the California Apartment Association.

According to the Kern County Homeless Collaborative, 60 chronically homeless individuals are on its by-name registry, meaning they have been on the streets for a year or more, making them a particularly vulnerable population.

“Most of these individuals have already been matched up with housing vouchers; we just need the homes for them to live in,” said Mardi Sharples, Voucher Program Administrator for the Housing Authority of the County of Kern.

 The event went a long way toward bridging that gap by bringing together leaders in the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

“We broke down a lot of myths and prejudices to show that serving the homeless population can be a very sound business decision,” said Jami Anderson of the Income Property Association of Kern.

Added Greg Terzakis, CAA’s senior vice president for Central California: “The success of this summit shows that landlords and property owners are stepping up to address California’s housing and homelessness crisis. We look forward to working with elected officials and service providers to find real solutions.”