Long Beach To Receive New Funding For Homeless Programs

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe announced today a $500,000 grant to the City of Long Beach to improve and enhance specialized services for homeless veterans in the Long Beach area. The grant includes a specific provision of $140,000 for the establishment of a County-funded mental health coordinator position within the City’s health department to ensure that residents, especially those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, have a greater awareness of mental health resources.

The City of Long Beach has a highly-effective continuum of care in place to address homelessness, but recent census statistics show that up to 14% of the total number of homeless veterans in Los Angeles County can be found in the Long Beach area. The goal of this new funding is to design a service program for homeless veterans and any special needs they may have. The addition of the coordinator position will ensure that individuals have knowledge of and are given access to mental health resources both the City and the County provides.

Supervisor Knabe has been a strong advocate on enhancing services for the homeless in Long Beach, and homeless veterans in particular. Earlier this year, he appropriated $1.2 million in County funding to support the US Veterans Initiative at the Villages at Cabrillo and in 2006, was instrumental in the establishment of the Bethune School for homeless children. He has also identified funding for child care and preschool services for homeless children and has pledged funding for the construction of a new family shelter for Catholic Charities. In addition, the Supervisor played a key role in the establishment of the Project Achieve shelter on Oregon Street, and continues to be the shelter’s primary source of funding.

"There are veterans living on our streets right now who are suffering and we anticipate a new influx of veterans who will be coming into our service systems that will require our help. We have to work proactively and not stand by and wait for solutions to emerge from Washington," Supervisor Knabe said, "The City of Long Beach has a strong program that is admired across the region as a model for addressing homelessness. It is my hope that this funding will enhance it even further."