Long Beach, CA – On Dec. 22, 2022 at the City’s Emergency Operations Center, Mayor Rex Richardson addressed senior leaders from the City of Long Beach before City Manager Tom Modica and City staff convened in a strategic discussion regarding the growing crisis of homelessness.
The meeting follows a request on Dec. 21, 2022 by Mayor Richardson, in partnership with First District Councilwoman Mary Zendejas, that the City Manager brings an item before the City Council for consideration requesting the Council to proclaim the existence or threatened existence of a local emergency related to homelessness. In a statement, The City announced that the City Manager will request the emergency proclamation at the next meeting of the City Council on Jan. 10, 2023.
We have an incredible group of leaders at the City who are dedicated to uplifting our neighbors in need, which in turn uplifts the entire community,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “I am heartened by their commitment as we met, and I look forward to continued work with our Councilmembers, other elected officials, City Manager, and the entire City team as we go ‘All In’ to face and resolve the homelessness crisis in our community.”
Led by the City Manager, the Departments of Health and Human Services (Health Department) and Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communications, the discussion included representatives across all City Departments where leadership staff discussed how the City could enhance existing initiatives that provide field-based outreach, engagement, supportive services and housing resources for people experiencing homelessness and maintaining the safety and security of all members of the community. Throughout the meeting, City staff engaged in real-time feedback and discussion to continue to identify and build the City’s emergency response plan with additional meetings to be held on an ongoing basis.
“The safety and wellbeing of each of our residents, housed and unhoused, is always at the forefront of our minds, and homelessness is a crisis that touches everyone in one way or another,” said City Manager Tom Modica. “While we have worked hard to address the complex challenges of homelessness, we must – and will – do more.”
Key topics of discussion, and action items, at the meeting included:
Resident and business engagement continued to be a focus of discussion regarding strategies and resources to reduce homelessness and ensure the health, safety and well-being of all, housed and unhoused. In support of that, earlier this week, the City launched a new Homeless Services and Information Hub webpage, available at longbeach.gov/homelessness, that provides an easy-to-navigate one-stop-shop of resources and information for the community.
While the City has worked diligently to address the rise of homelessness, including adding more than 500 shelter beds between 2020 and 2022, expanding outreach and case management services and increasing staffing levels, the persistence of homelessness in Long Beach continues, with an increase of 62% from 2020 to 2022. An emergency proclamation would allow increased focus, funding and resources for the City’s response efforts and implementation of emergency assistance programs and initiatives. It would also allow the City to mobilize local resources, coordinate interagency response, accelerate procurement of housing units and seek assistance from the State and Federal governments.
To learn more about the City’s recently opened winter shelter, go here. For more information regarding homelessness in Long Beach, please visit longbeach.gov/homelessness. The City will continue to announce critical updates regarding the City’s response to homelessness as they occur.