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Kailee Caruso: Candidate for Council District 3

Kailee Caruso: Running for Council District 3

Why are you interested in this position?

I love this city and for years have been community organizing for a more equitable, safe and thriving Long Beach. I have the skills, the leadership, and the dedication to get to the root cause of the challenges the residents of District 3 and the city of Long Beach face. Long Beach has an opportunity to put sustainable systems in place that can create equity, public safety and economic growth for all andset a precedent for other nearby cities. I have the ability to implement those systems strategically and collaboratively.

What relative experience do you have in this career field?

As for my experience, I have a Master’s in Public Policy from CSULB, local community organizer/volunteer, I work for a nonprofit that provides transitional living, temporary shelters, pod shares, host homes, mental health services, financial literacy, life skills programs for youth and their families experiencing housing instability in LA County and the only candidate in district 3 with direct experience working with the challenges and barriers faced by the homeless, and lastly on the PTA Board and have three children at a local public elementary school.

What are 3 changes you would like to make while in office?

  • I support Long Beach having their own Mental Health Department which would increase public safety

  • Sustainable infrastructures that support cleaner public transportation and decrease congestion

  • Increase local small businesses and long term economic growth

What are your top priorities for small businesses ?

I want our local small businesses to thrive. Some of the local shops are not owned by people living in Long Beach and remaining empty right next to our locally owned small businesses. We have to work with these owners that aren't as invested in Long Beach. How do we both win? Building relationships with them, campaigning for small businesses by coming to agreements with them to lower rent prices so we can have successful locally operated and owned businesses side by side and the out of Long Beach owners have regular rent coming in. Also, encouraging sustainable ways to invest in us by providing tax breaks for small businesses going green with solar panels and buying products locally. If we invest in us we will watch our small businesses not only thrive but multiple.

What are your 3 goals or main concerns for District 3?

  • Public safety

  • Housing instability

  • Climate resiliency

How would you address people who are concerned about the City and States Affordable Housing plan and its impact on their neighborhood?

I understand the concerns and we must maintain affordable housing in Long Beach while doing it effectively and sustainably. This includes the concerns residents have with it contributing to more city congestion. We have to keep all these concerns in mind and include input from our residents before making final decisions. As a district we should look at all options since this is such an important issue. We should look at buying land from vacant businesses and lots and using that land for further housing and parking. We should also encourage developers to build affordable yet comfortable housing in available spaces. One idea I’ve heard is to encourage developers to build more neighborhoods with efficient housing designs.

What is an innovative way you plan to involve the community in your decisions?

I want to be the voice and advocate for all of district 3. This includes attending community meetings for associations, businesses organizations regularly and building relationships with the residents of district 3 and Long Beach. This also includes consistent district events to build community. Residents should have access and actively participate in shaping community-based solutions to the challenges we face. This is why I will listen to the voices of our community and how I can better serve all.

Is there a City-wide issue you would most like to address?

I don’t want to generalize homelessness or housing instability experienced by so many in Long Beach. How we approach homelessness is crucial and complex. Homelessness looks different for those who are youth, adults and families. There are different resources needed/available and different barriers they each face. Those experiencing homelessness can not be generalized to substance abuse/dependency or mental health. The pandemic showed us that some families are just a paycheck away from housing insecurity. Housing folks in our community creates public safety and putting systems in place like a Department of Mental Health in Long Beach would provide resources, funding, jobs and create prevention of severe mental health for generations. Transitional living programs, shelters, pod shares, or short-term housing for those experiencing homelessness work and I know how to assess and implement programs that allow folks to secure a steady job, save money, build credit and have easy access to life skills, housing assistance programs, workshops and mental health resources. When we create systems that assist people and families to meet their basic needs we will see public safety increase and residents create more economic growth in this beautiful city.


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