Long Beach explores new funding tool to alleviate homeless problem

Source: Courtney Tompkins, Press-Telegram, September 16, 2016

An emerging tool may help Long Beach solve pressing social issues such as homelessness. City Council members Suzie Price, Daryl Supernaw and Roberto Uranga asked city staff this week to explore the possibility of using “social impact bonds,” which involve private or philanthropic groups lending money to accomplish a specific social objective. The government would repay the funds if and when the objective is met, but if goals are not achieved, the government is off the hook for the bill. … It isn’t clear specifically how Long Beach plans to use the funds, but the focus would be efforts on homelessness, an issue that residents from downtown to Belmont Shore and East Long Beach have expressed concerns about. The city housed 1,738 people in shelters from Jan.  1 through August, and officials say Long Beach has received about $8.9 million this year in funding — most of it from the federal government — to combat homelessness. While the city offers a number of social programs, Price said new ideas need to be considered. … The City Council is expecting a report back from staff on the financing tool in the next 60 days, Price said. …