Our Homelessness CountRelease Date: 2019-06-04
Today, the City of Long Beach released the results of our homeless count and the numbers are encouraging. While homelessness is on the rise throughout LA County and the region, in Long Beach our count remained basically flat.
Overall, we saw a 2% increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness since 2017 – an increase of 31 people, that is within the margin of error. We also saw reductions in veteran homelessness and chronic homelessness as well. While this is good news overall, we can’t be satisfied. There is much more to do.
Homelessness is a statewide crisis that impacts all of us. The data show Long Beach continues to make progress in housing people in need, but we must do more to get folks into permanent housing and to protect vulnerable populations. We have housed more than 5,000 people in the last 5 years but that’s not enough.
You can read more about our homeless count here.
I initiated the Everyone Home Long Beach Task Force last year and the City has been following its recommendations closely. Long Beach is doing a good job of getting people off the street and into housing. And we are continuing to work hard every day to reach more of our homeless residents, support our community partners, and build more affordable housing.
In just the past several months the City:
- Purchased land for our first municipal shelter and housing program;
- Piloted a homeless service 911 dispatcher;
- Broke ground on two new affordable housing projects, Vista Del Puerto and The Spark at Midtown;
- Supported legislation to simplify converting motels into supportive housing; and
- Gave initial approval to a Tenant Relocation Policy to help residents stay in their homes.
That’s just some of what the City of Long Beach is doing to combat homelessness. And the count shows our efforts are helping.
You can read about the Everyone Home Initiative here.
But unfortunately, our count also shows that new people continue to fall into homelessness. More than half of the people in our count are new first-time homeless. While this is not surprising because of the state-wide housing affordability crisis, it is cause for concern, and it means we have to continue to do more every day to address our housing shortage and help our residents stay in their homes. Going forward, we will pilot new prevention efforts to keep as many people as possible from ever experiencing homelessness.