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New Approaches to Homelessness

Release Date: 2019-02-08

Starting this Monday, we launch a new limited pilot program establishing a Homeless Services Dispatcher at our 911 call center. Nonemergency calls regarding anyone who is homeless will be redirected to the Homeless Services Dispatcher, who will be able to provide information, guidance and referrals, as well as dispatch nonemergency services to assist when needed.

This not only will prevent taking police and fire personnel away from life-threatening emergencies, it has the potential to improve response times to quality of life issues, people who need nonemergency mental health resources or medical attention, and assistance with getting connected to housing services and other community support resources. During times when this call taker is not available, these calls will be redirected to the city’s Multiservice Center, where staff can respond to calls within 24 hours and provide the same services and referrals.

This is just one more piece of our Everyone Home Long Beach, which began last year. The Everyone Home Task Force produced a thorough, detailed report with dozens of ambitious but realistic recommendations for getting everyone in our community into housing. The very first recommendation in the Everyone Home Task Force Report-recommendation 1a-calls for restructuring our Continuum of Care to improve and expand opportunities for housing and services and this pilot program is just one part of implementing that change.

You can read the entire report here.

I’m incredibly proud of our community for supporting Everyone Home. Long Beach has shown tremendous compassion, vision, and unity throughout this process. A special thanks to our Director of Disaster and Emergency Preparedness, Reggie Harrison, and our Director of Health and Human Services, Kelly Colopy, for implementing this pilot project so quickly.

The pilot program will continue through April 7, at which point we will evaluate its effectiveness.