Long Beach is located in one of the wealthiest counties, in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, yet 22.8% of our residents live at or below the U.S. Federal Poverty Guidelines. That’s consistent with the 23.2% of Californians living in poverty, but significantly higher than the national rate of 15.1%.
Poverty often affects children the most. In Long Beach, 32.8% of children under 5 and 33% of kids 5-17 live in poverty.
We’re working to eliminate poverty in Long Beach by helping low-income people achieve self-sustainability.
But the cart can’t go before the horse. First, we must address the critical needs of people living in poverty. For starters, that’s food, housing, security, and health. It also includes the friendship, love, and self-esteem that communities provide.
Our self-sustainability model, based on Maslow’s hierarchy, informs our holistic approach. Basic services and community advocacy—for a living wage, quality education, and social services—provide the foundation.
Education and training, jobs and family stability are the next level, helping people learn skills, set goals, and support each other. Then, and only then, people can begin to build their lives and escape the cycle of poverty.
To ensure our clients can access what they need, we offer a variety of our own programs, and we also have referral relationships with other local agencies that provide services we do not.