How Flexible Funding Can Create Stability and Prevent Homelessness

Woman with arms around a young girl who is holding a cat. All three are looking out a window and we see them from the back.

{Written by Interval House – one of Long Beach Community Foundation’s Community Impact grant recipients}

Interval House is the largest provider of rental assistance programming in Long Beach; working to ensure housing stability for the community’s most vulnerable. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Interval House saw a need for funding that was not just aimed at rent payments or security deposits. While these resources are undeniably critical, they do not address the devastating gap in services for the precariously housed.

With the support of the Long Beach Community Foundation’s (LBCF) 2019 Community Impact grant, Interval House was able to provide more “flexible funding.” Flexible funding is an emerging best practice. Studies show short-term, flexible, unrestricted financial assistance is one of the most effective strategies in the multi-pronged approach to ending homelessness. Funds are used in various ways to help individuals become stably housed.

Homelessness is complex. Behind each statistic is a person with unique experiences that led them to where they are. Flexible funding allows for more individualized solutions.

Meet Melanie
It’s hard to imagine having to make the heartbreaking choice between getting your sick child medical treatment and keeping a roof over your head. Do you risk the safety and stability of your home for the well-being of your child? For most, the choice is unimaginable. But for Melanie, a single mother who was recently laid off, a humble and dwindling savings account coupled with unrelenting health insurance battles, forced her into a devastating choice between the two.

Meet Diana
What would you do if you were a crime victim in your own home and could not relocate because there were no affordable housing options? How would you feel living in an unsafe home, constantly worried about your safety? How would you address your trauma and anxiety? For Diana (pictured above), the fix was simple: repairing damaged doors and windows to enhance her home’s security would give her tremendous peace of mind. However, it seemed like an impossible expense when she could barely cover her rent and expenses for her and her child on a limited income.

Meet Thomas
Thomas needed orthotics for a foot injury yet was denied coverage by his health insurance company. Without the prescribed orthotics, he was unable to work on his feet for long periods of time, leading to a reduction in work hours and leaving him dangerously close to losing his home.

From overwhelming medical bills to car repairs and crippling debt, these urgent needs can rapidly escalate into overwhelming hardships that can result in homelessness for many people.

There is a great need in the Long Beach community for a more holistic and forward-thinking approach in preventing homelessness.  This is especially important, given the many restrictions and eligibility criteria placed upon those seeking housing assistance. Without flexible funding assistance, individuals facing homelessness may not get help.

Interval House is pleased to have received LBCF’s grant and to partner with such a notable organization. Interval House is also proud to have helped Melanie cover her daughter’s medical expenses, to have helped Diana feel safe and secure in her home, and to have helped Thomas obtain his medical prescription so he can keep working and remain in his home. They are just a few who were helped, thanks to the support of the Long Beach Community Foundation.

LBCF’s Community Impact Fund supports Long Beach nonprofits working on the front lines of our city’s most critical issues. Learn more at