City of Long Beach
Public Information Office
333 W. Ocean Blvd,
Long Beach, CA 90802
The 2019 Biennial Homeless Count (Count) findings reveal that Long Beach identified 1,894 people experiencing homelessness in 2019, compared with 1,863 in 2017—a difference of 31 individuals. While this demonstrates a slight increase of 2%, it remains 40% below 2011 numbers.
The 2% increase in the total number of persons experiencing homelessness is attributed to those living on the streets, which are almost exclusively adults. Despite this small increase in the street count, there was an 8% reduction in chronically homeless persons – from 686 in 2017 to 632 in 2019. More than 2,150 people have been permanently housed since 2017.
“Homelessness is a statewide crisis that impacts all of us,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “The data show that 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.”
Addressing the issue of homelessness continues to be a leading priority for the City. Long Beach has taken a multipronged approach, working across departments to provide wrap- around services for people experiencing homelessness as well as vulnerable populations. An Interdepartmental Team, which includes representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Police and Fire Departments, Public Works, the City Attorney’s office, the Library and Parks, Recreation and Marine, meets monthly to share knowledge and discuss the City’s integrated approach to homelessness. Long Beach is also one of only three cities in Los Angeles County to operate its own Continuum of Care, a local planning body funded by HUD that coordinates and funds housing and services for families and individuals experiencing homelessness.
On the ground, the Multi-Service Center is the central hub for serving people who are at-risk of or experiencing homelessness. It averages about 13,000 client visits every year. The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) has been helping people connect with services via the specially trained officers in its Quality of Life Unit since 2007, and in 2016, the Long Beach Fire Department’s Homeless Education and Response Team (HEART) was established to provide emergency medical services to people experiencing homelessness. In January of 2019, the City announced that a new year-round shelter will be established in North Long Beach. The City has also worked with partners to build more affordable housing in Long Beach: The Spark at Midtown, featuring 95 units of affordable housing, broke ground on March 20, 2019; Vistas del Puerto, a 48-unit affordable housing development, broke ground on March 27, 2019; and Las Ventanas, which breaks ground on Thursday, June 6, will provide 102 affordable apartment units.
The 2019 Count reveals that 52% of people surveyed during the count reported being homeless for the first time, compared to 43% in 2017. In an effort to prevent future incidents of homelessness wherever possible, last year the City launched Everyone Home Long Beach, a highly coordinated, multi-organizational approach to ending homelessness. Designed to build on the City’s comprehensive homeless assistance and affordable housing efforts already underway, Everyone Home Long Beach looks at innovative approaches to provide new pathways into homes and prevent residents from falling into homelessness. Everyone Home Long Beach is guided by a series of goals and recommendations brought forth in December 2018 by a task force of local leaders.
At the County level, funding from Measure H supports rapid re-housing efforts and homeless outreach, as well as the Homeless Incentive Program. The State of California also issued funding through two programs that will provide support services for households who are at-risk of, or are currently experiencing, homelessness: the California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program (CESH) and California’s Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP). Federal programs, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), enables very low-income tenants to receive Housing Choice Vouchers so they can rent privately-owned residences and prevent those people from falling into homelessness. Over the past fiscal year, 6,450 low-income families in Long Beach were housed using Housing Choice Vouchers.
The 2019 Count was conducted in the early hours of January 24, with the help of 250 volunteers. A mandatory orientation session before the Count provided technical training for data collection and engagement techniques, and the volunteers were led by experienced guides. Due to the statewide homelessness crisis, the City of Long Beach will increase its frequency of point of time counts to once a year beginning next year.
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.