Nearly $16.7 million funding has been awarded to the City of Long Beach for Project Homekey, the state’s $600 million program that allows the purchasing and rehabilitating of housing to convert into permanent, long-term housing for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness, according to a press release from the City.
“I want to thank Governor Newsom for supporting Long Beach in our efforts to end homelessness,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in the press release. “This funding allows us to use existing motels as housing options to support those most in need of housing and services in Long Beach.”
Project Homekey will help those experiencing homelessness as they begin preparing for permanent housing solutions, the press release said. People experiencing homelessness with area median incomes at or below 30% and who are prioritized for housing through the City’s Coordinated Entry System will be the primary focus of the program.
According to the press release, the City has plans to convert an existing hotel into interim housing units. A local operator will be chosen by the City to assist in on-site operations. At the present time, the City is in negotiations to acquire a site and expects it to become operational as interim housing by mid-February 2021. The site will be presented to City Council for approval in a public meeting once negotiations are complete.
“The facility will operate as interim housing for the foreseeable future while the City identifies additional funds for full conversion to permanent supportive housing,” the press release stated.
“Additional interim housing units will greatly enhance our ability to support our neighbors experiencing homelessness,” Deputy City Manager Teresa Chandler said in the press release.
The City’s interim housing program’s goal is to have people move into permanent housing as soon as it is available.
Interim housing options in the city of Long Beach, in many instances, are available only to veterans, families and those experiencing domestic violence. The project aims to fill “a crucial gap by offering more pathways to permanent housing.”
Project Homekey is one of the latest new services for people experiencing homelessness. The press release noted that the City has worked to curb the spread of COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness by providing non-congregate sheltering among people at high risk for health complications due to COVID-19. It went on to share the availability of 133 rooms for singles or couples experiencing homelessness. Additionally, a village-style development that is able to house up to 125 people experiencing homelessness, named the Atlantic Farms Bridge Housing Community, opened this week.
The Health Department’s Homeless Outreach Division also launched the Bridge Initiative, which will increase outreach and engagement near newly-opened homeless services programs.
“The initiative brings together City departments including Health and Human Services outreach workers, Police Department Quality of Life officers, the Fire Department HEART Team and Public Works Clean Team, as well as outreach workers from nonprofit organizations, to coordinate outreach and clean-up activities within the area,” the press release said.
For more information on the City’s homeless services, visit longbeach.gov/health.