The City of Long Beach has been awarded $5.3 million in Encampment Resolution Funding (ERF) from the State of California. The funding will provide much needed additional attention and focus in parts of Downtown Long Beach with a high level of need. City Outreach staff, through focused and respectful outreach, will provide services to people experiencing homelessness in the area with the addition of immediate interim and emergency shelter options and the goal of transitioning to safe and stable permanent housing.
“For more than a decade, Lincoln Park and the Billie Jean King Library have been focal points for efforts to address homelessness in downtown,’’ said Mayor Rex Richardson. “This significant new funding will enable us to get our unhoused neighbors the supportive services and housing they need and support a healthy, safe and welcoming environment for library and park patrons. Thank you, Governor Newsom, for these resources so Long Beach can continue and expand our important work.”
The area of focus for this funding is a section of Downtown Long Beach that includes Lincoln Park, Billie Jean King Main Library, parts of the Downtown Entertainment District, the Metro platforms, the Promenade and Harvey Milk Promenade Park. Data indicate that many of the people experiencing homelessness in this area are extra vulnerable due to the prevalence of chronic and acute physical and behavioral health service needs. The area is also where the City has seen the highest number of deaths related to overdoses, most often related to untreated trauma and mental health conditions.
“This is massive, good news. I am pleased to see that the Governor has noticed the incredible need that we historically have had and continue to have at our BJK Library. It is of the upmost importance to me that everyone in our community is able to enjoy our parks, libraries and public spaces. At the same time, I want everyone to be able to go home to somewhere safe and stable with peace of mind,” said First District Councilwoman Mary Zendejas. “This funding is going to allow us to create more of those possibilities for people experiencing homelessness and that is very meaningful.”
With the ERF, the City plans to make 60 additional non-congregate shelter units available for one year, and transition 125 encampment residents to permanent housing through additional rental assistance and supportive services. Coordinated outreach efforts will be increased and provided by the City’s Interdepartmental Team as well as community partners, with dedicated case management services, mental health, substance use and physical health services, non-congregate shelter access and access to permanent housing resources through the Coordinated Entry System.
This is the second time the City was awarded State ERF funding in the last two years. In June 2023, Governor Gavin Newson announced this new round of available funding, while he was at MacArthur Park in Long Beach, the City’s area of focus for the first round of ERF, to highlight the success Long Beach has had and the impact of the ERF program. Through focused services at MacArthur Park, 40 people were provided immediate access to shelter. Over the past year, 13 people have moved into permanent housing and 25 people continue to work with case management to obtain permanent housing.
“We have successfully done this before, and we will do it again – supporting our neighbors with critical services, helping them achieve housing stability and creating welcoming public spaces for all,” said Health and Human Services Director Kelly Colopy. “Our Homeless Services Bureau team continues to lead with compassion, providing safe spaces where people can find some peace while on their path back into housing.”
The State established the ERF grant to develop effective, scalable and replicable strategies that meet the complex needs of people living in encampments while also restoring public spaces to their intended uses.
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.