Ronnie Maynard is finding his way out of homelessness at 65

It’s rare to drive or walk on a major street in Long Beach and not see someone suffering from homelessness. According to data released from the point-in-time count held in February, homelessness increased by 62% since the last count two years earlier.

The 2020 count found that 2,034 people were either living on the streets, in their cars or in one of the city’s shelters. This year’s count saw that number jump to 3,296.

The increase in the city’s unhoused population has caused frustration. Recently, some residents and businesses even created a petition asking an organization to stop providing free meals in Downtown Long Beach and instead move the giveaway closer to the city’s Multi-Service Center, which is the hub Long Beach uses to connect homeless people with services.

Other people who are worried about homelessness have taken a different approach. Care Closet founder Duke Givens, for instance, is sticking to his nonprofit’s motto, of “lil by lil.” His approach is to give the unhoused community a purpose. Care Closet will give them food vouchers, clothing, assistance with resume building, identification and housing in exchange for helping to keep the streets of Long Beach clean.

Today we meet one of Care Closet’s most recent success stories. From addiction and homelessness to a managerial candidate who is passionate about helping others. Today we learn the story of Ronnie Maynard.  

PODCAST: ‘Lil by Lil,’ this man is helping the homeless by giving them purpose

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Jackie Rae is a multimedia reporter for the Long Beach Post who joined in May 2021.