An empty warehouse at 6845 Atlantic Avenue is now filled with beds, heaters and portable toilets for the area's homeless. Photo taken December 7, 2016 by Stephanie Perez.
Long Beach’s winter shelter is now open, according to city officials, after more than a three-week delay due to a change in service providers earlier this year. The facility will have 164 beds available nightly through March.
The overnight shelter, available only to single men and women, will operate daily from 5:00PM to 7:00AM beginning today, December 23 until March 1, 2017. In the event of harsh weather, the hours may be extended.
Facility participants cannot enter or exit at will once they are checked in to the shelter, which is located in North Long Beach at 6845 Atlantic Avenue. Walk-ins are not accepted at the shelter; instead, participants must be transported to and from the location from the following designated pick up/drop off areas:
- Channel Street Park/Ride, located at 110 Underpass and Channel Street in San Pedro, at 4:15PM
- Long Beach Multi-Service Center, located at 1301 West 12th Street, at 4:45PM
- First Congregational Church, located at 241 Cedar Avenue, at 5:15PM and 6:15PM
The shelter will be operated by First to Serve, which is also in charge of two other winter shelters in the Los Angeles area. In previous years, the Long Beach Rescue Mission has acted as the winter shelter provider but the Mission’s program director, Chaplain Jeffery Levine, said the organization’s success in its programs and the desire to expand the Mission’s own shelter capacity in the next three to five years prompted LBRM officials to opt out of their contract with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).
Levine said the Mission notified LAHSA of its departure as provider in late July and that LAHSA did not issue a request for proposal to replace the Mission as a service provider until October. According to city officials, LAHSA chose First to Serve in November.
During the December 6 Long Beach City Council meeting, the city passed the clearing of a state of emergency for the homeless population to allow the shelter to open as soon as possible. Since then, a series of inspections of the facility and the placement of heaters, portable toilets and beds into the facility were taking place.
The Long Beach shelter will be servicing the following cities categorized under the LAHSA’s Service Planning Area 8 (South Bay) map: Athens, Avalon, Carson, Catalina Island, El Segundo, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, Long Beach*, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Dominguez, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Estates.
The other local year-round shelters include the LBRM and Project Achieve for single individuals, and Catholic Charities and Lydia House for families.