City of Long Beach
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd,
Long Beach, CA 90802
More than 100 people gathered Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Multi-Service Center (MSC) in West Long Beach to celebrate its two decades of connecting people experiencing homelessness or at-risk of experiencing homelessness with services.
“Since opening in 1999, the Multi-Service Center has been an important resource for some of our city’s most vulnerable residents,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “The MSC is critical in coordinating homeless services in Long Beach, which is absolutely key in building trust and connecting people to housing resources.”
The MSC, which is operated by the Long Beach Health and Human Services Department, is a one-stop shop where people can be connected to emergency shelter, employment services, health and mental health services, substance abuse treatment and linkage to permanent housing. Operating as part of Long Beach’s Continuum of Care, the MSC is nationally recognized as a best-practice model and is a one-of-a-kind access center in Southern California.
“Homelessness is the biggest issue facing our city,” said Tom Modica, Acting City Manager. “It’s important to recognize the important work being done at the Multi-Service Center. The people at the MSC are making a real difference, and contribute to the City’s successes in reducing chronic homelessness.”
The MSC also serves as the hub for the Interdepartmental Team, a cross-departmental group that meets monthly to coordinate resources and share knowledge and ideas to proactively address homelessness across the entire city. The Interdepartmental Team, is comprised of individuals from the Health Department, including the MSC, the Police and Fire Departments, Public Works, the City Attorney and Prosecutor’s offices, the Library, 911 Dispatch and Parks, Recreation and Marine. Members of the team involved in outreach are in contact daily to make sure opportunities to help people experiencing homelessness are not missed.
“Our goal is to make sure every unhoused person gets the services they need while maintaining their dignity,” said Kelly Colopy, Director of Health and Human Services. “The Multi-Service Center, with its client-centered approach, helps everyone who walks through the door, without judgment.”
The 20th Anniversary event included entertainment from the Cabrillo High School drumline, tours of the MSC and remarks from the Mayor, Acting City Manager Tom Modica, Colopy, and Homeless Services Officer Shannon Parker. Parker, who told an emotional story about guiding a group of chronically homeless people into permanent housing, with the support of the MSC staff and its partners, honored longtime employee Elsa Ramos, who is the special projects coordinator for the Homeless Services Division. Former L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, whose office provided significant financial support for the MSC, also was honored.
The anniversary celebration followed an intimate gathering of MSC staff, partners, volunteers and clients on Wednesday, Oct. 23, where a time capsule was buried and twelve trees were planted. Staff and clients read poems that evoked home as those gathered remembered and grieved for people who have died while experiencing homelessness.
The MSC first opened its doors in October of 1999 and now serves about 13,000 contacts per year, making it the primary point of entry for homeless services access in Long Beach. It is a key component of the citywide plan to address homelessness, Everyone Home Long Beach.
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.
About Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services
The mission of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is to improve quality of life by promoting a safe and healthy community in which to live, work and play. Long Beach Health is one of only three city-run health departments in California, which allows for better engagement with residents, neighborhoods, businesses and community partners, and fosters a greater understanding of the City's strengths. For more information, visit us at www.longbeach.gov/health, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.