City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 040821
Long Beach City Council Approves Negotiations to Begin U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Use of Convention Center for Humanitarian Effort
City of Long Beach Joint Information Center

Long Beach, CA - The Long Beach City Council has unanimously approved a formal request from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Refugee Resettlement to enter into contract negotiations to support the national humanitarian effort to provide safe, temporary shelter to unaccompanied migrant children who are currently being housed in overcrowded Border Patrol facilities. The temporary emergency shelter facility will be located at the Long Beach Convention Center.

“I am proud of the City Council’s decision to support our country and this humanitarian challenge at our border,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Long Beach has a long history of stepping up to support and welcome folks in need.”

To ensure the safety and well-being of each child, the HHS requested assistance from local governments throughout the United States to provide temporary facilities for these children while the federal government quickly reconnects them with family members or sponsors in the United States. Long Beach was specifically requested to safely house unattended children until they are reconnected with family or a sponsor.

The Long Beach City Council reviewed and discussed the information provided by the federal government during a closed session and special meeting on April 6, where they ultimately authorized the City Manager to begin negotiations with HHS for use of the Long Beach Convention Center.

At the request of the federal government, the City explored potential sites to utilize as the emergency shelter location, ultimately determining the Long Beach Convention Center would be the optimal site to provide housing, food, recreational and other services to these children in need. The Convention Center has the capacity to temporarily accommodate up to 1,000 children. The federal government will be responsible for both funding and providing services needed to care for the children. The City of Long Beach will play a supporting role through contracting for the use of the Convention Center, and making connections to HHS for other non-profit and government services. Once operational, the HHS shelter operation will provide the children with essential services, including meals, medical and health evaluations, recreational opportunities and educational services. 

Operation of the emergency shelter will cease on or before August 2, due to existing contracts in the fall of 2021 at the Convention Center.

The shelter is not expected to impact COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic operations currently underway at the Convention Center.

The City will work with HHS to develop a communications plan to keep the public informed on the status of the operations. 

Currently, there are several emergency shelters operating across the country, including California, Colorado, Texas and Washington. 

About the City of Long Beach
Home to approximately 480,000 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 and the Port of Long Beach. 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 and bike paths.

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