2019 Strategic Grant
Legal-name: Long Beach Police Foundation
Address: 2302 N Bellflower Blvd
City: Long Beach
Ranking-title: Bruce DD Mac Rae, President
First-name: Anjelica Vargas
Textarea-499: To equip Long Beach Police Department Quality of Life Homeless Outreach Officers with funding to effectively reach more individuals experiencing homelessness with resources including transportation, temporary weekend housing when city entities are closed and cannot process in-takes, food and documentation fees for rehabilitation and medical services in the city of Long Beach.
How-many-individuals: Over 500
What-is-project: The Quality of Life Outreach program is comprised of 10 Long Beach Police Officers and 2 mental health clinicians. Officers are assigned a territory of the city: North, South, East and West. Each pair of officers or officer and a clinician are responsible for patrolling and responding to calls regarding homeless in their assigned area. Officers develop ongoing relationships with those experiencing homelessness in the city and establish trust among these clients.
Clients’ immediate needs are attended to, usually it is hunger and thirst. Then, clients are resourced to the Multi-Service center to have a case opened and a social worker assigned to them, are enrolled in volunteer rehabilitation treatment or are temporarily house if they are unable to secure housing through the Multi-Service center on the day of their intake. Officers provide transportation, guidance on the systems and procedures, advocacy and follow up to clients to ensure clients receive all support and resources needed to get prepare them for permanent housing and independence. On some occasions, officers get in contact with the family of a client. In these cases, if the family is willing to offer support and a place to stay, officers will purchase bus fair for the client to return home and be reunited with family and support.
Many of these clients are unfamiliar with the processes of how to help themselves. Often, they are without identifications, though they are legal residents of the United States, but have lived on the streets for most of their adult lives. Clients can get lost in the system of resources unsure of what questions to ask, what resources to request and how to transport themselves between entities to finalize their enrollment in rehabilitation, temporary housing, medical services, even attaining general relief. Quality of Life officers provide a connection for clients experiencing homelessness, protecting the rights of these individuals and serving them by equipping them rather than just ticketing, harassing, or simply displacing clients to another region in the city.
Quality of Life Officers have and continue to create trust, accountability and connection with those experiencing homelessness and have been able to assist individuals, desiring help, into next steps for recovery and housing. Those unwilling to receive help, they establish relationships with and decrease homeless related crimes because of the established trust, accountability and connection. Both roads address the issue of homelessness by creating relationships and changing the approach of the community, the relationship between homeless and officers and the method is already making an impact within the city.
How-will-you-succeed: Success will be measured by how many individuals are successfully enrolled in section 8 housing, have completed rehabilitation, and how many connections are made throughout the city. A portion of the requested funding will be used for transportation between rehabilitation centers and shelters/permanent housing locations to free up officers to continue serving additional clients and ensure step by step process completion by client. The numbers of those housed, in rehabilitation, and receiving services will be tracked to compare the extended reach of the Quality of Life Outreach team after receiving funding. Sustainability will be secured through city entities and other businesses and private donors as the currently used methods are standardized across the growing Quality of Life unit and verified statistics can be presented to donors.
Who-are-you: The Long Beach Police Foundation is the sole non-profit organization that support the Long Beach Police Department in areas of training, equipment and community outreach. It is made up of local community members, business people and residents committed to creating a safer Long Beach. The Long Beach Police Foundation sponsors many community development projects and events hosted by the Long Beach Department to equip and inspire marginalized populations in the city of Long Beach including the annual Shop with a Cop event for students living at or below the poverty line, the annual Toy Patrol which brings joy and toys to families throughout the city experiencing financial hardship, Kiwanis Kids and Cops day which encourages positive interactions between youth and officers in a neutral setting and the Youth Leadership Summer Academy providing development and networking opportunities to high school students. The Quality of Life unit has a unique opportunity to continue addressing the issue of homelessness through it’s partnership with the Mental Health Department and the unofficial homeless outreach coalition in the city of Long Beach where shelters, social workers and community groups collaborate and share resources and cases to make sure each client receives the best support and successfully establishes permanent housing, sober living and financial independence. The Long Beach Police Foundation partners with community businesses and private donors to raise dollars that grow right back into programs including the Quality of Life unit. This unit, though staffed by officers, does not have a budget for expenditures needed to resource clients. The Long Beach Police Foundation offers the funding for officers to purchase necessary food, clothing, documentation, transportation and the like. The Long Beach Police Foundation is governed by a board of directors made up of business owners, community leaders, residents and police advocates who are dedicated to keeping our city and it’s officers safe and provided for.