The Long Beach Rescue Mission seeks $50,000 from the Ralph Parsons Foundation to expand the mission’s Workforce Development Program. The mission plans to help 1,000 residents become financially autonomous graduates equipped with the tools necessary to maintain steady work by December 2022. Long Beach is experiencing a crisis of homelessness and job loss which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. In 2020, Long Beach experienced a 7% increase in homelessness and an 11.5% increase in unemployment (Richardson, 2019). The issue of homelessness is one that the state of California has been struggling with for many years. In May, Governor Newsom announced a California Comeback Plan to increase housing resources for homelessness.
The LBRM plans to address the need for employment among homeless individuals by improving the support services available to residents at the mission. The Workforce Development Program fosters long-term lifestyle changes and allows residents to fully participate in the economy with the support of mentors at the mission. The mission plans to improve a coaching program that has been successful in helping students achieve financial autonomy by strengthening the curriculum to create a cohort-based system. The cohort-based model will foster community, offer personalized employment counseling, and provide ongoing support for job seekers. The mission will also provide access to childcare during coaching sessions to encourage parents to seek support and participate in the program.
The Long Beach Rescue Mission can work to reverse the devastating effects of the pandemic and the housing crisis by empowering residents with the tools needed to become financially autonomous. The Workforce Development Program has been proven to help students become self-sufficient and 70 graduates are enjoying newfound independence as a result of participation in the program. The increased need for employment amid the pandemic is one that the mission is well equipped to address. The mission also plans to leverage the addiction support programs in place that have helped residents as well and offer those services to individuals seeking job support through the workforce program. The Workforce Development Program is also a core part of all services at the mission because financial independence is crucial for breaking the cycle of homelessness. Strengthening the employment program would strengthen all programs at the Long Beach Rescue Mission and improve the experience of residents seeking support.
Organization and Background
The Long Beach Rescue Mission was founded by Janet Teuerle in 1971 and has been providing shelter for homeless individuals for residents of Long Beach, California for over 50 years. The LBRM serves men, women, and children in an effort to help residents seek financial independence and maintain long-term lifestyle changes that foster financial autonomy. The mission provides hot meals, and chapel services for community members. In addition, the mission provides resources to help individuals create new lifestyle habits and emergency shelter for individuals who need immediate assistance. The emergency shelter service receives approximately 160 stays each day and is a reliable resource for the homeless population of approximately 1900 in Long Beach California and the hot meal service serves approximately 650 meals each day.
The mission also provides shelter and support to residents in recovery from addiction. Case management is available as part of a Life Change Program for residents in recovery to promote new lifestyle habits. The program also provides financial and spiritual guidance to assist residents with maintaining healthy routines, obtaining work, investing in education, and securing housing.
Support for job seekers is available at the mission’s Workforce Learning Centers which provide over 50,000 hours of training for job seekers in search of financial independence. The Long Beach Rescue Mission has been successful in helping residence obtain financial independence through the program with 119 graduates, 507 employment preparation classes, and14,820 career-coaching sessions for residents at all stages of the employment support program.
Long Beach Rescue Mission residents have seen tremendous growth through the programs available for addiction recovery and job support. Helping residents acquire financial independence is a core component of the mission’s purpose and the resources available in the workforce centers are a key part of the growth of residents at the mission.
The Long Beach Rescue Mission has a staff of approximately 25 people and an operating budget of $4,875,394. The mission receives grant-related funding from public charities’ contributions and grants. The mission has also partnered with several foundations including the Evalyn M. Bauer Foundation, the National Christian Foundation California, the Atkinson Charitable Foundation, and Edison International. The mission and is seeking funding opportunities to further develop human service programs sector by expanding the resources available in the Workforce Learning Centers, a core component of the programs so many residents have experiences success in. The LBRM is confident that in expanding the workforce program will allow the mission to serve residents across programs more effectively and provide residents with the skills they need to achieve long-term financial independence.
The community of Long Beach, California has seen a spike in job loss and homelessness due to the pandemic. As a result, residents have an acute need for human service programs that provide resources for job seekers. According to the Long Beach Business Journal (Richardson, 2019) approximately 11.5% of Long Beach residents were unemployed as of July 2021, meaning more than 46,773 individuals were out of work in a city of approximately 467,763.
The pandemic exacerbated both the job and housing crisis Californians were experiencing before covid. California has a homeless population of 151,000 individuals, 66,436 of whom are in Los Angeles County. The 2017-2020 Homeless Count Comparison report from the Department of Health and Human Services revealed a 7% increase in homeless individuals in the city of Long Beach last year (DHHS, n.d.). The homeless population in Long Beach rose from 1,894 in 2019 to 2,034 individuals in 2020. Of the 2,034 in need of services, the Long Beach Rescue mission serves approximately 1,900 people each night, providing 75,000 shelter stays each year.
Resources for homeless populations are critical as lack of housing can prevent community members from fully participating in their communities, building sustainable relationships, and implementing personal skills that would benefit community circles. Lack of resources are exacerbated by systemic inequality that can result in living patterns that are difficult to break. Substance abuse is also linked to homelessness. The National Coalition for the Homeless refers to homelessness as a cause for substance abuse (National Coalition for the Homeless, n.d.). In addition to homelessness and unemployment, approximately 9% of the city’s population has a substance abuse disorder according to The Addiction Center in Long Beach (Addiction Center, n.d.) (five times the population served by the Long Beach Rescue Mission).
Residents have an immediate need for services that foster financial self-sufficiency. Many residents who do not have the resources to obtain housing also do not have the resources needed to find and apply for work. The National Medical, an organization designed to support underrepresented individuals in healthcare, conducted a study about technology use by homeless patients. According to the study, “67% of patients reported having access to a computer, while 33% reported not having any access” (Rivera, 2017). The study also surveyed technology use overall and determined 22% did not have access to technology or had never used a computer (Rivera, 2017). Support for job seekers is a valuable service that will allow residents to access the resources necessary to make a lifestyle change and participate fully in the community. Homeless individuals will need assistance with accessing resources such as internet services and software to complete job applications and search for housing after finding a job.
Every resident deserves an opportunity to access resources required to break out of unsustainable cycles and live in safer, more sustainable way. The Long Beach Rescue Mission strives to expand the Workforce Learning Center and job support programs for those in need of support. If granted funds, the Long Beach Rescue Mission would be in a unique position of having the resources to provide employment support and counseling job seekers in addition to recovery services for those in need.
The Long Beach Rescue Mission is requesting a $50,000 grant from the Ralph Parsons Foundation to provide support to 1,000 job seekers by the end of 2022. The mission seeks to relieve poverty and homelessness by further expanding the Workforce Development Program and providing more residents with the tools required for financial autonomy. The mission seeks to serve the entire community at the LBRM and will need to improve the tools available for assisting graduates in reaching their goals of becoming financially self-sufficient. An expansion of the resources available at the LBRM will provide residents with the ability to maintain work with tools obtained in the Workforce Development program.
Poverty and homelessness are cycles the Long Beach Rescue Mission addresses with Workforce Learning Centers. The LBRM plans to increase the number of participants in the program and will need to augment the resources available as the need for job seeking support becomes more pronounced. The mission seeks to address the need created by the covid-19 pandemic and the devastation caused by the housing crisis. The Workforce Development Program sessions currently take place at the Samaritan House and the Lydia House at the Long Beach Rescue Mission. The expansion of the center’s resources, technology, staff, and hands-on training sessions will greatly improve the capacity of the center to serve community members. The mission plans to continue hosting sessions at both locations and focus on improving the resources within these spaces that are available for homeless individuals seeking support. The expansion project will begin in January 2022 and end in December of 2022. After the expansion period, the implementation of new resources and tools will allow the mission to serve more residents and help them meet their goals more efficiently. The mission plans to make changes to curriculum and upgrade technology to continue serving men and women in need of employment services after the expansion project is complete.
The Long Beach Rescue Mission currently offers job support to reduce obstacles to finding employment in Long Beach. The learning centers provide computer access and employment counseling to match residents with jobs that will provide a stable income. After individuals obtain work, the mission is available to continue counseling and assist with navigating adjustments to new work environments. Counselors help LBRM residents address challenges that may arise as individuals transition to becoming self-supporting and financially independent. The Workforce Development Program also teaches students healthy financial management habits. Students learn how to track and manage debt, build credit, maintain savings accounts, and create budgets to develop robust financial portfolios. The financial portfolios are a resource that empower students by helping them gain autonomy and build a financial management system that can be maintained after they graduate from the program.
The LBRM program also offers employment counseling, a community-focused solution that provides social support for job seekers adjusting to financial changes. The center held 23,140 employment support sessions in 2015 and helped clients open 200 new bank accounts, a significant indicator of the financial success many students have experienced in the Workforce Development Program. In 2015 there were 119 graduates who now live independently due to the financial skills they learned in the program.
The mission also aims to increase the number of graduates who are able to use tools from the program to live independently as well as the number of sessions held by the mission. In order to achieve this, the mission will need to increase staff positions for employment coaching services and more personalized sessions. Residents at the mission have varying levels of experience with job application techniques and technology. The mission aims to adjust the curriculum of the Workforce Development Program to provide personalized support for residents experiencing a technological learning curve. The mission plans to provide a similar model for addressing challenges residents experience when applying job seeking strategies and techniques. Although resume development is part of the current program, residents have different levels of writing skills and job application experience. Creating cohorts that allow individuals to progress with students who have a similar experience level will strengthen community within the program. In addition, group coaching sessions for beginners would be an efficient way to serve multiple members and allocate resources to more individual sessions when needed.
Addressing obstacles to participation will also be critical for success. Providing childcare during workforce development sessions would greatly increase participation in the program and the ability of the mission to serve the community. To serve the community of Long Beach more effectively, the mission will provide child support services for parents who do not have time to spend in workforce learning centers because they are unable to find childcare. The mission also plans to improve the tools available to residents as they participate in the program. Expanding the number of computers would allow more residents to participate in each session and would make the plan to implement group training sessions for residents with similar technological experience feasible. Increasing the number of computers would allow the room to divide into workshop sessions with arranged seating that would allow residents to move through the program and build a community with others in their cohort.
The LBRM also intends to increase marketing efforts and resources available for job training. Awareness of the new capacity to serve parents will be a critical part in participation among residents. The mission would like to partner with outside organizations and provide transportation services to allow for more community members to access employment coaching. The LBRM thrift shop is currently advertised by the Long Beach City Council. The mission seeks to inquire about other ways this partnership can advertise the mission’s job support service program, a program that is mutually beneficial for both the city and residents in need of support in making lifestyle changes. The mission also plans to leverage the rescue mission thrift shop as part of a five-year plan to provide support for the community. The thrift shop will become a place for hands on training where residents who are farther along in the workforce program can bridge the gap between the classroom experience and hands on learning.
The Long Beach Rescue Mission will need to recruit volunteers and staff members to oversee the efforts of the mission, review resumes, assist with computer access, and ensure systems of the mission are running effectively. Graduates will have the option to become mentors to other students to foster community in the program and support students with similar experiences. The mentors will share their experiences and the strength they gained in the program as well to motivate others. To ensure students are completing the weekly tasks and are not lost or confused while participating in the program, mentors will have weekly check-in sessions with participants to ensure the students are progressing as planned.
As the program expands, funding would create a long-term shift in the way the mission provides services and will set the basis for serving more members for many years. The learning centers, once improved, can be used for many cohorts and will have the capacity to serve a larger population. The option to become a mentor as an alumni will also allow residents to continue to benefit from the community at the mission and maintain valuable social support as well as provide hope for others newly beginning the program.
The success of the program will be measured by the number of graduates as well as graduates’ ability to sustain lifestyle changes long term after completion of the program.
The LBRM has been successful in graduating approximately 70 members. Milestones for evaluation include increasing quarterly enrollment, measuring engagement with the completion of the program syllabus, and evaluations with each member of the program to determine the changes they are making to daily habits. The Life Change Program provides ongoing support for attendees after obtaining steady work as well.
The changes in curriculum will require tracking success with several methods. The mission will need to measure the number of parents who are able to graduate with the child support service implemented at the mission. Each cohort will also be measured to ensure that each group had equal rates of success. Notes from weekly sessions with coaches will be compiled at the end of the year to examine lapses in progress during the program to examine any positive or negative trends that may have taken place. This information will be used to improve the program for the following year.
External evaluators such as focus groups and surveys would be useful due to the nature of success in this program. The Workforce Development Program includes several success milestones such as learning the skills needed to write resumes and apply for work, obtaining work, maintain an occupation long term, and becoming self-sufficient. After residents become autonomous, the mission must rely on surveys and methods of outreach such as phone calls to measure the ability of graduates to carry the skills of the program forward and use them to promote long-term lifestyle changes. The mission will measure the number of graduates and record the self-reported lifestyle changes students are able to maintain after graduating from the program.
Fundraising is critical to the expansion of Workforce Development Programs which have been proven to relieve cycles of poverty and homelessness experienced by residents. The Long Beach Rescue Mission has evaluated previous fundraising strategies and sees opportunities for expanding the mission’s network this year. The mission plans to expand the LBRM’s featured partner network and leverage the Rescue Mission Thrift Shop as an opportunity for raising funds and providing hands on training for participants in the Workforce Development Program. The fundraising plan includes clothing drives and holiday discounts, partnering with other charities to increase awareness of the job support services available at the mission, and networking with the Long Beach City Council, an advocate for the thrift shop.
Networking will be critical components of the mission’s five-year plan and necessary for increasing the ability of the LBRM Foundation to support future projects. The Long Beach Rescue Mission needs one remodel to sustain helping many after the grant period and plans to implement the changes above to continue to fund the project for many years to come.
The Long Beach Rescue Mission seeks to address the cycle of homelessness and poverty as well as alleviate the effects of this vicious cycle on the community. The community of Long Beach has a homeless population of over 2,000 people. Job loss and homeless have been exacerbated from the pandemic and the LBRM seeks funds to help address needs of homeless individuals in need of employment. The funds will go toward expanding a Workforce Development Program, one that allows homeless individuals to re-enter the workforce and maintain long-lasting changes to lifestyle habits. Mentorships and resources would be available to many more if funds are granted. The program would also expand to provide childcare and allow parents to participate in the program without the added cost of child support services.
By addressing the cycle, the mission can benefit the entire community by equipping people with the resources needed to live safely in a more sustainable way. The LBRM is in a unique position to expand resources for homeless individuals due to the addiction recovery programs that are already established. The mission is equipped to address a variety of issues such as abuse and addiction that either stem from homelessness or contribute to higher rates of unhoused individuals. With funds, the LBRM would be able channel all services into addressing the need for job support, one that has increased as a result of the pandemic and the housing crisis in California in 2020 and continues to weigh on the community of Long Beach.
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