Senator Lena Gonzalez Announces $23 Million in Funds to Strengthen Reentry & Homelessness Services, Support Arts & Culture Projects & Revitalize Community Spaces in the Long Beach and Southeast Los Angeles Region
Long Beach, Calif. – On Tuesday, July 18, 2023, Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) announced $23 Million in funds dedicated to projects throughout the Long Beach and Southeast Los Angeles region to help address some of the most pressing needs in the community and advance social, educational and economic opportunities through the arts. The projects receiving funding will provide a wide array of benefits to community members including recreational activities for seniors, historic preservation, arts programming for local artists and youth, supportive services for those experiencing homelessness or at risk of being homeless, and much more.
“It brings me great joy to announce these local investments for our community,” said Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach). “The funds build on the progress we’ve made through responsible budgeting to advance a better quality of life for all Californians and ensure that we provide the services and resources needed most here in the Long Beach and Southeast Los Angeles region. I look forward to seeing the transformative impact that these projects will have in the near future, and I thank all of our local groups and government leadership who helped advocate for these funds for Senate District 33.”
“These projects encompass a holistic approach to addressing our needs, from nurturing creativity through arts programs to providing essential services for our seniors, people experiencing homelessness, and formerly incarcerated individuals. This investment will strengthen our social fabric and revitalize community spaces, ensuring a brighter, more inclusive future for everyone in our region,’’ said Mayor Rex Richardson. “Together, we will build a stronger and more vibrant Long Beach that we can all be proud to call home."
“Providing resources to those reentering the community, and those experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of being homeless, is not only a smart health-based approach, but it’s smart for public safety,” said Doug Haubert, Long Beach City Prosecutor. “By focusing on the underlying conditions, like mental illness and substance abuse, we can break the cycle of crime and poverty families experience in our community. This funding will make a real difference, and we are thankful to Senator Gonzalez for her support and advocacy on this issue.”
“This important funding will go towards funding Phase II of the four-phase West Santa Ana Branch Bikeway Trail Project which will connect the San Gabriel River to the Los Angeles River,” said Mayor Isabel Aguayo. “More bicycling options means fewer cars on the road which in turn helps lower emissions to protect air quality for our neighborhoods. It also means greater opportunities for exercising and enjoying the outdoors in a way that is affordable and convenient for local families. The City of Paramount is very thankful to the Senator for including this project in this year’s State Budget to improve bicycling options for transportation and recreation for our community.”
“I am thrilled that the Arts Council for Long Beach has received a generous $500,000 allocation from the California State Budget, thanks to the dedication and hard work of Senator Lena Gonzalez,” said Griselda Suarez, Executive Director, Arts Council for Long Beach. “This funding will enable us to bring even more diverse and engaging art programs to Long Beach and the South East LA area, enriching our community and providing opportunities for artists and audiences alike. We are deeply grateful to Senator Gonzalez for recognizing the importance of the arts and for her support in helping to make our vision a reality. This allocation will help us to continue to grow and thrive, and we look forward to sharing the benefits of this investment with our community for many years to come.”
“The $2 million in funding secured by Senator Gonzalez for the interior remodeling of the Weingart Senior Center in Lakewood will be greatly appreciated by the over 300 seniors who use the center daily,” said Lakewood Mayor Ariel Pe. “That facility was built 42 years ago, and the funds will help renovate the HVAC system, dining room, game room, and restrooms. Thank you to Senator Gonzalez. We greatly value your advocacy and support.”
“The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) which has been serving the community for 28 years - unique in its nature and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in the United States - is honored to receive this budget allocation, which is key to laying the foundation for institutional expansion to better serve our visitors,” said Lourdes I. Ramos, Ph.D., President & CEO, Museum of Latin American Art. “MOLAA exalts the highest values of the Latino/a/x community for a national and international impact. We are grateful to Senator Gonzalez and the Latino Caucus for the support provided.”
The projects receiving funding are as follows:
- $500,000 Cultivating arts programs in Long Beach and the Southeast Los Angeles area.
- $750,000 Bolstering the Long Beach Reentry Services Program to provide supportive services to formerly incarcerated community members and their families to ease their transition and help them live fulfilling lives.
- $1.25 Million Strengthening capacity in the City of Long Beach to provide services for community members at risk of or already experiencing homelessness.
- $2 Million Renovating the Weingart Senior Center in the City of Lakewood.
- $2 Million Completing the West Santa Ana Branch Bikeway Project Trail in Paramount.
- $3 Million Establishing the Southeast Los Angeles Cultural Center Development Advisory Panel to gather and provide community-driven guidance on the development of the center.
- $3.5 Million Maintaining and renewing Rancho Los Cerritos and Rancho Los Alamitos facilities in Long Beach.
- $10 Million Investing in the Museum of Latin American Art which provides educational, cultural, and career growth opportunities within modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art.
Senator Lena Gonzalez represents the 33rd Senate District, which includes the City of Long Beach and portions of South Los Angeles and Southeast Los Angeles including the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lakewood, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, Signal Hill, and South Gate. Senator Gonzalez lives in Long Beach with her family. Website of Senator Lena Gonzalez: www.sen.ca.gov/gonzalez
Mayor Rex Richardson is the 29th Mayor of Long Beach and a husband and father. Since taking office, his vision is tackling major issues like homelessness, building an economy where everyone thrives, creating safe and healthy communities, investing in youth, and supporting a sustainable and resilient city.
Doug Haubert is the elected City Prosecutor for the City of Long Beach, and has served in this position since 2010. His office handles approximately 10,000 cases each year, and is known as a national leader in court diversion and alternative sentencing programs.
A lifelong Paramount resident and entrepreneur whose extended family has lived in the City for four generations, Isabel Aguayo was elected to the Paramount City Council in March 2020 and is currently serving her first term as Mayor. In her free time, she also serves as the Director of Outreach in California for the non-profit Share Hope USA, which has helped more than 9,000 homeless individuals in L.A. and Orange counties and collected more than 40,000 Play-Doh containers for Children's Hospital L.A. Her family owns and operates a ceramics business in the City.
Griselda Suarez was born and raised in unincorporated East Los Angeles. She believes that the arts are essential in empowering others to express their thoughts. Throughout her career, she has created programming and training dedicated to facilitating transformation and creating agency for her communities. In 2016, she became the Executive Director of the Arts Council for Long Beach and served as an advisor for the L.A. County Board of Supervisors’ Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative council, representing the fourth supervisorial district for seven years. She has taught at Cal State Long Beach for the Chicano and Latino Studies department since 2006 and currently serves on the City of Long Beach Economic Development Commission.
Mayor Pe was elected to the Lakewood City Council in March 2020, and he began serving his first term as Mayor on July 11, 2023. He is a proud product of the Lakewood community and local schools, having lived in the city for over 50 years.
The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) was founded in 1996 in Long Beach, California and serves the Greater Los Angeles area. MOLAA is the pioneering museum in the United States dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino/a/x art. MOLAA expands the knowledge and appreciation of modern and contemporary Latin American and Latin art through its collection, innovative exhibitions, stimulating educational programs and engaging cultural events.