Long Beach, CA (February 22, 2023)— FORWARD, the leading integrated program administration solution for state and local governments, is partnering with the City of Long Beach to launch a Visual Improvement Program that will provide $350,000 in grants to businesses impacted by crime or vandalism. Small businesses and nonprofit organizations can receive up to $1,500 to repair damage caused by vandalism that occurred on or after October 1, 2022.
“Small businesses and nonprofit organizations play a critical role in our economy. The businesses that have been largely targeted for vandalism are those in underserved communities” said X, representative for the City of Long Beach. “Programs like the Visual Improvement Program give these organizations the resources they desperately need. So, it is equally important to ensure the funds from this program are distributed equitably and accessibly.”
The Visual Improvement Program, an initiative under the Long Beach Recovery Act, is designed to help small businesses recover from these crimes and support underserved communities. According to Long Beach Police Department data, property crime accounted for nearly 84% of all reported crime in 2022 and property crime rose by 7.6% in the past year compared to 2021.
The program will ensure funding reaches underserved areas by focusing outreach to low-moderate income areas and reserving a minimum of 50% of awards for businesses owned by a person of color or businesses located in a low-moderate income area.
Within the last several months, the City of Long Beach has significantly expanded its partnership with FORWARD, looking to the platform for support in distributing more than $10 million in government programming. In addition to the Visual Improvement Program, FORWARD is currently working to accessibly and equitably distribute funds through the Long Beach Recovery Act like the Long Beach Homebuyer Assistance Program.
“FORWARD is designed to be flexible and versatile while offering an equitable and accessible distribution of funds,” said Adnan Muhmad, CEO of FORWARD. “We are pleased that our partnership with the City of Long Beach has expanded to its current state. We applaud the city for prioritizing equity and designing programs that aggressively target underserved business owners.”
Applications for this program will open on February 22, 2023 and will remain available until funding is exhausted. To apply for the program, learn more about eligibility and to review frequently asked questions, visit the program website.