This development at Anaheim Street and Walnut Avenue and the Beacon Apartments (pictured below) are two of the proposed projects that will join the city's roster of affordable housing units. Photo: Renderings courtesy of the City of Long Beach
While affordable housing units may not be springing up at the same rate as market-rate rentals in Long Beach, the city is making progress toward its pledge to close the gap that has engulfed much of the state, leading to rising rents and displacement.
This week, The Beacon Apartments broke ground in downtown, a project that will provide 160 new affordable units to lower-income seniors and veterans.
These developments come on the heels of a city council vote to adopt nearly 30 housing recommendations for producing and preserving affordable units in Long Beach.
“Beacon Apartments is yet another example of the City’s commitment to meet the critical need for additional high-quality, affordable and workforce housing in Long Beach,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “The City is working to implement new housing policy recommendations adopted by the City Council; and a number of affordable housing developments for veterans, seniors and families are ready to break ground in the near future.”
The Beacon is just one of a number of affordable housing projects either underway or in the works which will bring hundreds of badly needed units to the city. Long Beach has seen its rents increase month over month and is getting increasingly less affordable to live in.
An April report from Zillow, an online real estate and rental home service, put the average cost of rent in Long Beach at just over $2,400 a month, reflecting a 4.2 percent increase over last year. That figure is roughly $1,300 per month more expensive than the national average and trails the Los Angeles Metro region by about $360 per month.
The Beacon affordable housing project broke ground Monday.
Plenty of market rate and luxury developments are under construction in the downtown, so the news that at least some affordable units are also on the way should be welcome news to renter advocates and community groups that have criticized development in the city, blaming it on the ripple effect of rising rents emanating from downtown.
Joining the Beacon is the Immanuel Senior Homes project, a renovated church that will bring 25 senior affordable units to the city, and two developments on Long Beach Boulevard that will bring nearly 200 affordable units to the market reserved for those with special needs, experiencing homelessness, at risk of falling into homelessness and families.
Earlier this month, during a presentation at the Beverly O’Neil theatre, Garcia also announced plans to erect a student-village for CSULB enrollees, staff and faculty. The CSULB Village would create 375 residential units and is set to begin construction in the Fall.
Today, 640 units of affordable housing are in various stages of development for our senior, veteran, special needs & homeless communities. pic.twitter.com/DpmI39Pg8x— Long Beach Mayor (@LongBeachMayor) June 14, 2017
According to the city, as of March it has roughly 640 affordable units of housing in various stages of development. Some, like the CSULB Village, have yet to break ground, while others like the Immanuel, Banner Homes and Anchor Place at Century Villages at Cabrillo (120 supportive housing units for veterans and families experiencing homelessness) are either operational or slated to open soon.
The affordable housing situation is not one that Long Beach is struggling with alone, a statewide housing analysis released in February showed that California needs 1.8 million new homes by 2025 to keep pace with estimated population growth.
Adding to the issue is that 36,000 affordable housing units statewide are at risk of being converted to market rate by 2025. Conversely, over the last decade, Long Beach has built about 1,800 affordable units while preserving nearly 2,100 existing units.