Senator Lena Gonzalez Presents $2 Million in Funds to Help Prevent Homelessness and Bolster Reentry Services in the City of Long Beach
Long Beach, Calif. – On October 16, 2023 Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) presented $2 Million in funds during Monday Matters at MacArthur Park in the City of Long Beach, a bi-monthly resource fair where volunteers help provide food, water, clothes, and other essential supplies to unhoused neighbors. Of the funds awarded, $1.25 million will be utilized to enhance the capacity of service providers to assist individuals at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness. The remaining sum of $750,000 will be directed towards enhancing the city’s Reentry Services Program.
In recent years, California has seen an 84% increase of people ages 55 and over seeking homelessness services, compared to a 43% increase across all ages. They are the fastest-growing homeless population in our state, and it remains true in the City of Long Beach, as older adults on fixed incomes face higher rent burdens. Last year’s Homeless Count reports that nearly 44% of homeless people said they became homeless due to financial reasons, and at the same time, data shows that over the last decade, rent costs have more than doubled for average studio apartments.
To provide some relief and to help prevent older adults from falling into homelessness, the City of Long Beach will use the newly acquired funds to launch a long-term subsidy program to assist with monthly rent payments. Those on the program will also receive additional case management assistance, to find permanent affordable housing, including the opportunity to secure a shared housing arrangement, through which owners with underutilized rooms or Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) can be matched with older adults looking for a more affordable housing option.
Formerly incarcerated individuals are another population with a heightened risk of experiencing homelessness. In our state, 70% of homeless individuals have a history of incarceration. Although California's justice system has made strides in reducing recidivism, it remains relatively high at approximately 50% over the last ten years. With this in mind, the state and the City of Long Beach are taking a proactive approach, leveraging the newly allocated $750,000 in funds to help provide comprehensive support services to previously incarcerated individuals and their families, facilitating their smooth reintegration into society and lessening the likelihood of them falling back into the criminal system or into homelessness. Specifically, the funding secured for Long Beach will focus on reducing the cycle of incarceration by providing case management, mental health, substance use, employment, and other social services for formerly incarcerated individuals who have been in jail or prison in the previous 12 months.
“Our state is taking a proactive approach in mitigating the homelessness crisis,” said Senator Lena Gonzalez (D – Long Beach). I am pleased to announce that we have allocated in this year’s state budget, $2 million in funds for the City of Long Beach dedicated to supporting our most vulnerable groups who are at risk of or currently facing homelessness. I would like to express my gratitude to the representatives of the City of Long Beach and our community leaders for their unwavering passion and dedication in advocating for innovative solutions that benefit our unhoused neighbors.”
Community members and city representatives joined Senator Lena Gonzalez at the check presentation and shared a few words about the importance of these new funds.
“We are thankful to Senator Gonzalez for securing this investment for Long Beach,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “These funds will enable us to enhance the Multi-Service Center and offer more effective services to our unhoused residents.”
“Providing critical services, like mental health and substance use rehabilitation, for those who need it the most is a smart way to reduce crime,” said Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert. “The funds secured by Senator Lena Gonzalez for our community will be focused on those most likely to reoffend, with the goal of reducing homelessness among formerly incarcerated people and making our neighborhoods and public spaces safer.”
“Homelessness prevention is critically important,” said Kelly Colopy, Director, City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services. “The funding provided by the Senator’s office will help us provide supports to older adults and families —two population groups that are now falling into homelessness in greater numbers. Importantly, this funding also supports reentry services to help the City interrupt the prison-to-homelessness pipeline”
“As our community struggles with a surge in homelessness, the need for critical services for our most vulnerable citizens has never been greater,” said Mary Simmons, AOC7 Neighborhood Organization Co-Chair and Project Dignity Organizer. “We are grateful for the support provided by Senator Gonzalez in securing resources that will enable the provision of vital services to the community, aimed at addressing this pressing issue.”
Senator 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
About Mayor Richardson: Rex Richardson is a husband, father, and the 29th Mayor of Long Beach.Mayor Richardson’s history in Long Beach is grounded in empowering communities to have a seat at the table. He believes that everyone, no matter their circumstance, deserves the opportunity to thrive. He works to change the culture of city hall to be smarter, more inclusive, and more responsive to the needs of our neighborhoods, businesses, and families while ensuring an equitable future for all.
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.
Kelly Colopy is the Director of the Health and Human Services Department for the City of Long Beach, CA. The Department has over 40 programs in the areas of public health, family preservation, homeless services, and the housing authority. These teams work with government, community and business partners to improve the health, wellness and resiliency of people in Long Beach.
Mary Simmons is a community leader that has dedicated herself to serving the city of Long Beach for over two decades. Her passion and determination to make a difference led to the formation of the AOC7 Neighborhood Organization, which has achieved remarkable accomplishments.