Earlier today, the City of Long Beach and Ninth District Councilmember Rex Richardsonannounced an acquisition agreement made with a North Long Beach property owner at 6841-6845 Atlantic Avenue (“Atlantic Farms”), Long Beach, California 90805. The final sale, which will be pending City Council approval on February 5, 2019, will set the stage for a state of the art village-style campus of supportive services for people experiencing homelessness. Supportive services will include a much-anticipated year-round homeless shelter with 125 beds.
“Homelessness and housing are the top two challenges we are facing in the State and as a city,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “I’d like to thank Councilmember Richardson and the North Long Beach community for stepping up on this citywide issue. We are committed to eliminating homelessness by addressing the goals in the Everyone Home Long Beach Task Force Recommendations, and this campus will be a huge step forward to getting folks housed and providing support.”
On July 24, 2018, Councilmember Richardson introduced, and the full City Council approved, an item regarding exploring sites to secure a year-round homeless shelter and local revenue options to address local homelessness and housing shortages in the city. On August 21, 2018, City staff reported to City Council a strategy to create additional affordable housing and improve prevention and response to homelessness in Long Beach, including current efforts, potential new funding sources, and enhanced approaches to reduce homelessness and improve housing opportunities. Among the recommended and approved actions, was an analysis detailing a strategy for identifying a dedicated local revenue source for the development of permanent supportive housing and comprehensive prevention service; and, a plan to use recently received state funding toward the purchase of a facility that would be utilized as a year-round homeless shelter.
“This is truly a transcendent moment for Long Beach. By taking the lead and addressing the homelessness crisis head-on, we’re not only demonstrating compassion for families, students, and veterans in need, but setting the stage for a transformational project here in North Long Beach,” said Councilmember Richardson. “This is a game-changing opportunity to create a ‘best-in-class’ campus that connects comprehensive health and wellness with economic development, housing opportunities, and new amenities for the whole community.”
If the sale is approved by City Council, the City’s Economic Development department will convene a visioning task force for the property. The task force will develop recommendations on what services, amenities and facilities, beyond the year-round shelter, would be best suited for the campus to serve the community and people experiencing homelessness. It will also explore potential public-private partnerships and mixed-use development opportunities.
“We are going to use $3.4 million of Measure H revenue to transform the Atlantic Farms site into a state of the art facility that not only provides shelter but also connects people with the supportive services they need to escape homelessness,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “This is an ambitious effort but no less than I would expect from the City of Long Beach which has been on the forefront of addressing homelessness and I am proud to lend the County’s support to this important project.”
“Last year we found permanent housing for over 1,000 people experiencing homelessness, which is a great success, but we must continue to do more,” said Health and Human Services Director Kelly Colopy. This future campus, that includes a year-round shelter, will make a significant difference in our ability to support those currently experiencing homelessness, but also provide important assistance to prevent people from falling into it.”
A new year-round shelter would offer 125 beds. The draft design includes: sleeping quarters for single adults and couples; overnight stays for families who will be linked to family shelters; accommodations for pets; a temporary storage facility; transportation to other community services; shower facilities accommodating individuals with disabilities; and colocation of program services including life skills, job training, benefits advocacy and comprehensive case management. It is estimated that the shelter, if the sale of the property is approved by City Council on February 5, 2019, will open in June 2020.
The total purchase cost of the campus property is $9,591,540. Funds for the acquisition of the property are available from $8 million in Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP), Continuum of Care allocation funding, and sale proceeds from a previous City-owned property.
About the City of Long Beach
Home to approximately 470,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. As a full-service charter city, Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly-rated school district, Long Beach Airport, the Port of Long Beach, as well as many award-winning City departments such as Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Development Services and more. The City also has a highly-respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 171 parks, miles of beaches, marinas, bike paths, and a Bike Share program.