The City of Long Beach has extended its contract agreement with the County of Los Angeles and the nonprofit organization Stay Housed LA to support their Right to Counsel program, which provides counsel for tenant evictions for low-income residents who have experienced financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Managed by the county in partnership with Stay Housed LA, the City’s contract provides funding to address tenant issues in Long Beach and has assisted 862 people since its 2021 inception, playing a critical role in homeless prevention for at risk residents.
“Many residents are still recovering from the financial hardships brought on by the pandemic,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “This program has already provided legal guidance to hundreds of Long Beach tenants, and the extended contract will connect even more people to the services they need to avoid wrongful tenant evictions and potential homelessness for at-risk residents.”
In January 2023, the Long Beach City Council adopted the proclamation of a local homelessness emergency to strengthen the City’s preparedness and ability to respond to homelessness, including moving quickly and efficiently to expand affordable housing and housing services as well as upstream homeless prevention strategies for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. On behalf of the Mayor and City Council, and as a proactive step to support homeless prevention, City Manager Tom Modica allocated a one-time funding of $200,000 from the City’s emergency funds for homeless prevention, permissible under the City’s homelessness emergency proclamation, to extend the City’s existing contract through June 30, 2023, or until funding is exhausted. Previous program funding was provided through the General Fund in Fiscal Year 2021 and Long Beach Recovery Act in Fiscal Year 2022, with supplemental funding from a Community Development Block Grant.
“In this post-pandemic era, we continue to work diligently to provide equitable access to recovery programs,” said City Manager Tom Modica. “This extended contract will not only prevent wrongful evictions, but it will also play a critical role in homelessness prevention, an overarching shared objective of our Mayor, City Council and City leadership.”
As the core facilitator of the program, Stay Housed LA coordinates program resources and services between legal aid providers and tenants. More information is available about the program, including how to receive services, on the Stay Housed LA website.
Early in the pandemic, there were overlapping tenant evictions moratoria at the local, county and state levels to protect low-income tenants from no-fault evictions and harassment for nonpayment of rent. While the state evictions moratorium largely took precedence over local ordinances, after two years and multiple extensions, the state’s moratorium expired on June 30, 2022. Meanwhile, the County’s moratorium continued to provide tenant protections and moved to expand to all unincorporated areas of the county and cities that did not have a local moratorium, including Long Beach. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors again extended aspects of the County’s evictions moratorium for an additional two months. With the County’s moratorium expiring on March 31, 2023, it marks the end of the remaining pandemic eviction protections still available. As such, continuing a program to provide legal counsel to low-income tenants remains a critical resource for many community members before eviction or penalty action is taken and to prevent homelessness for at risk Long Beach residents.
For more information on the City’s affordable housing and assistance programs, the community can visit longbeach.gov/lbds.
For more information on the City’s efforts to reduce homelessness in Long Beach, people may visit longbeach.gov/homelessness and follow @lbhealthdept and @longbeachcity on social media and follow the hashtag #EveryoneHomeLB.