Long Beach is the second largest city in LA County, seventh largest city in the state and 36th largest city in the nation. With those statistics, Vice Mayor Rex Richardson, feels both the pressure and the privilege that comes with being in a direct position to influence change and progress. The city’s plan forward highlights Everyone-In, an economic inclusion initiative which is a call to action to Long Beach leaders and stakeholders to be involved in implementing industry best practices and policies that emphasize economic inclusion for the region. The initiative is deliberate and intentional in increasing opportunities for both individuals and small businesses to plug into the growing local economy of the community by focusing on four aspects: growing small businesses, cultivating entrepreneurs, supporting pathways to family-supporting careers, and increasing access to home ownership. It has been embraced as a citywide initiative, with the entire Long Beach City Council voting in support of the solutions presented through Everyone-In.
Being a small business owner himself, Vice Mayor Richardson is familiar with the hurdles that most small businesses face — access to capital. That is why attracting financial institutions is a priority for the City of Long Beach, where 87% of their businesses consist of small enterprises. They have partnered with Kiva, an innovative crowdfunding platform, to provide affordable small business loans to growing enterprises.
A proud home owner in North Long Beach after many years of renting, Vice Mayor Richardson is well acquainted with the fact that homeownership is still the primary source of intergenerational wealth. While the racial wealth gap in the nation, state, and county continues to grow, the City of Long Beach is actively combating this inequity by exploring options to provide soft-second mortgage programs, financial education systems, and down payment assistance — which is a main barrier to home ownership. The city is also partnering with Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network (PGWIN) to provide free checking accounts and financial education to all youth who participate in their workforce development programs.
The economic renaissance the region is experiencing is not accidental. Most recently, after years and years of empowering North Long Beach for civic engagement, the community has seen an increase in public investment. Specifically, the area is experiencing the redevelopment of its 16-acre retail corridor, a $250 million investment in public infrastructure, the building of the Michelle Obama library, and thriving neighborhood involvement marked by increased numbers of community organizations. The city aims to be the future hub of neo-industrial investment, striving to increase the number of logistics and technical jobs, creating ecosystems that work for their broader community.
Through Everyone-In, the City of Long Beach aims to be a leader in creating meaningful change through a progressive plan of economic inclusion – making sure that students have a pathway to college and career, creating ownership and housing opportunities so that people can live and work in their own communities, and ensuring that local small businesses are given the resources and support to grow.
Learn more about Everyone In at the Economic Equity Summit in Long Beach.