Random Length News: Sen. Lena Gonzalez Presents $2M. in Funds to Help Prevent Homelessness
LONG BEACH — Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) Oct. 16 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 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 the 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.
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 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 California, 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. Subsequently, the state and the City of Long Beach are leveraging the newly allocated $750,000 in funds to help provide comprehensive support services to previously incarcerated individuals and their families, facilitating their 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.
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