Updated: Dec 19, 2022
Long Beach, California – With news headlines reporting a 40-year record high 9.1% surge in inflation and a 62% increase of homeless people in Long Beach since 2020, many are left feeling helpless and fearful of being added to the statistics. Fortunately, Help Me Help you provides free essential services and resources to support all in need and to curb the rising rates of homelessness.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), measuring the cost of goods and services related to the cost of living, soaring by 9.1% from 2021, the highest since November 1981. The continuing increases in June 2022 equated to a 12-month rise in energy of 41.6%, food costs by 5.6%, shelter costs were up 5.6 % annually, and rental costs rose by 0.8% - the largest monthly increase since April 1986. These sky-rocketing costs are the main forces fueling unprecedented levels of inflation. For residents who were barely holding on to survive through the past two years of turbulence, the current economic environment is enough to propel them into a state of hunger and homelessness. Since 2020, there are approximately 1,300 more Long Beach homeless (living on the streets, in cars, or in city shelters) totaling 3296 residents, of which more than 62% are unsheltered.
Fortunately, Help Me Help You, a community-based non-profit organization, co-located at the City of Long Beach's Multi-Service Center (MSC), is dedicated to uplifting homeless and low-income residents by increasing access to free food, public benefits, and economic security. Their free services reduce hunger and poverty, improve nutrition and health, and boost family economic security. Programs target homeless and disadvantaged families and individuals, including seniors, disabled individuals, single mothers, veterans, and youth. Help Me Help You serves more than 53,000 residents annually with: Grocery Grab N Go: provides free fresh and packaged groceries via 10 food pantries (6 school and community locations). Long Beach Food Pantry Delivery: free weekly home-delivered groceries to seniors in need. CalFresh: free enrollment assistance for monthly benefits to buy groceries at participating stores and farmers' markets. General Relief: free enrollment services for cash aid assistance. Medi-Cal: free enrollment assistance for free/low-cost health insurance. Benefits Access Support: nationwide social security claims enrollment. Nutrition Knights Healthy Habits: education and awareness for elementary school children on healthy eating and living habits and how to access free community services. To collectively service residents in need with one-stop access to resources Help Me Help You maintains integral partnerships with the Coalition for Homelessness and works with the City of Long Beach Homeless Services via the MSC co-located agencies who also provide critical resources and housing solutions. These essential life-saving services can transform lives from hunger or homelessness to self-sufficiency. Myesha, a 42-year-old, new mom, with Cognitive Heart Failure, was also homeless and felt helpless until she attended a Help Me Help You Grocery Grab N Go. She explained to Lily, Help Me Help You Benefits Advocate, that she was trying to access housing but was delayed due to her lack of income. Lily, worked to get Myesha’s Social Security Income claim approved, receive healthcare and CalFresh benefits as well as contacted her case manager at PATH to help fast-track her housing once she received a steady social security income. “Help Me Help You have transformed my life at a crucial time when I felt overwhelmed and helpless. Now I can look after myself and my baby in our new home”, said Myesha.
These economic times are challenging for the most resilient. Help Me Help You curb the effects by accessing free services at: www.helpmehelpu.org/services or by contacting 562 612 5001.