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Thanks to the hard work of our city, social, and faith-based groups, homelessness is down 12% in Downtown Long Beach since 2009. Long Beach Connections, an initiative led by People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), Mental Health America, and the city of Long Beach's Homeless Services Division, have been involved in a comprehensive count for the last few years. The count found that in 2009, 345 people were experiencing homelessness, down to 303 this summer.
In addition, the initiative has been focused on finding permanent or transitional housing for those on the streets. This effort has reduced health care costs for the homeless in the Downtown area by 68%, saving almost $2 million in emergency services and hospital visits.
In light of the difficult economy and tough times, these statistics are impressive.
While we should applaud this effort by the city, our churches, and our social and business groups, we have much more work to do. It is estimated that we still have almost 50 Veterans living on Downtown streets and along the Los Angeles River.
I want to deeply thank everyone involved in the Long Beach Connections initiative. Every person deserves the dignity and respect of a home.
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