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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # CM:042517
Homeless Count Declines in Long Beach
Kerry Gerot
Public Affairs Officer

The 2017 Biennial Homeless Count (Count) findings reveal a 21% reduction in the total number of persons experiencing homelessness in Long Beach, and a 26% reduction in chronic homeless persons. Compared to 2,345 in 2015, the total number of homeless persons in the City has dropped to 1,863; and the total number of chronic homeless persons has dropped from 927 to 686. The 2017 Count, conducted on January 26, marks the fourth consecutive Point-In-Time (PIT) Count that reflects a reduction in homelessness in Long Beach.

The notable decrease in homelessness in Long Beach can be attributed to the expansion of permanent housing, innovative models of outreach, and a well-coordinated system of care. In the last two years, permanent housing resources have nearly doubled. This increase is due to the following factors: new housing programs for Chronic Homeless and Veteran populations, expansion of Rapid Rehousing, more homeless housing units, increased CoC-funded Veteran housing, increased Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH), increased set-aside Section 8 Vouchers, and the implementation of a $6 million surge grant of Supportive Services for Veteran’s Families (SSVF). This increased housing availability has allowed for effective and timely transitions from homelessness to permanent housing.

"I'm incredibly proud of our staff and community partners who are working every day to house families and individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Our local efforts are producing real results. We have a lot more work to do, but the data shows we are making progress."

While citywide homelessness is down, the results also show a dispersion of homelessness across the City since 2013; moving from higher densities in specific neighborhoods to a more general dispersion across the city. This dispersion may be attributed to various factors including Downtown’s revitalization, maintenance efforts along river corridors, and wetland and greenspace restoration.

This population shift has led some to believe there is an overall increase in homelessness, when in actuality there are fewer homeless individuals. However, some of the population has shifted to areas outside of traditional concentration areas.

“We are committed to challenging ourselves to refining our system, expanding partnerships within the community, and continuing our collaborative regional efforts that further support local progress towards closing gaps within our system,” said Kelly Colopy, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Over 400 community members assisted in the process to ensure comprehensive coverage of the 52 square miles of Long Beach. This was the largest number of volunteers ever recruited for a Count and the most comprehensive canvassing of the City to date.

Map teams in the Count process were led by experienced outreach staff including City staff, Continuum of Care (CoC) partners, and Long Beach Police and Fire Departments, who have specific expertise and training working in the field. 

The street count involved two components: 1) the 47 map segments covering the 52 square miles of Long Beach; and 2) the Other Service Sites (OSS). OSS are non-residential locations where homeless persons may be located on the day of the Count, for example, the coordinated entry hubs of the Multi-Service Center (MSC) and Mental Health America (The Village), churches, food banks, recycling centers, medical clinics, and transit malls.

The Count process also piloted Transitional Age Youth (TAY) special teams, comprised of service providers and TAY individuals, to rove citywide to known youth congregation areas. The Count establishes the baseline for homeless TAY populations as communities focus on efforts to end youth homelessness by 2020.

The Long Beach CoC is recognized nationally as a model for a well-coordinated system of care. Specific practices of the system include:

  • Universal delivery of Evidence Based best practices to individuals and families regardless of their housing status. 
  • Integrating all key partners into the Coordinated Entry System that provides a “no wrong door” approach to accessing services. 
  • Coordinated housing application and utilization processes linked to supportive services and financial assistance programing.

The City of Long Beach is committed to continued innovation and systematic improvements providing comprehensive programs, and is one of only a few cities in the State of California that have a bureau or division devoted strictly to the homeless population.

Attachment A provides a summary report of the 2017 HUD Homeless Data Exchange (HDX) count results as reported to HUD, including 2013 and 2015 HUD HDX count submissions for comparison.

Attachment B provides a comprehensive summary of services for homeless populations provided by the City.