2:30pm | Efforts to address and tackle the problem of homelessness received a big boost earlier today, as Mental Health America will receive grants worth $750,000 over the next three years to continue their work in downtown Long Beach.
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced more than $13 million in grants as part of a five-year drive to end chronic homelessness in Los Angeles County. The city of Long Beach Health & Human Services department estimates that around 4,000 people are homeless in Long Beach every day.
Mental Health America was one of four organizations to receive funding aimed at moving homeless people into permanent housing. The St. Joseph Center in Venice, Skid Row Housing Trust in downtown Los Angeles and Step Up On Second in Hollywood will also receive $750,000 each.
Martha Long, a leader with Mental Health America and co-chair of the local Homeless Connection Initiative, says she is thrilled with the funding.
"We're just trying to address the chronic homeless population in Long Beach," she told the Long Beach Post today. "Now this is going to give actual money allocated to healthcare and case management, which we know are two of the absolute critical things when you're trying to work with this population."
Long says the funding will allow the organization to hire a part-time nurse and a case manager, as well as increase Mental Health America's efforts to reach the most vulnerable members of the homeless population with the most critical needs. Last year, MHA put 65 people into permanent housing, which Long says is the ultimate goal.
"This is a huge opportunity for the city of Long Beach, very specifically," she said. MHA has been successful in recent years by connecting a vast network of homeless resources such as housing with the Villages at Cabrillo, and larger organizations such as PATH Partners.
"This is proving successful around the country. It's the only thing that seems to have worked so far."