Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has called for a special city council session set for Tuesday, October 4 to address homelessness, his office announced today.
The meeting will largely involve reviewing the city’s current state of homelessness and progress surrounding the city’s “5 key community strategies,” which were put into place in 2010. The mayor will also request council to evaluate the city’s 10-year plan for homelessness and see where the city is falling short, according to a release issued today.
“Homelessness has been increasing throughout the state and the region,” said Garcia in a statement. “Long Beach has been a leader in supporting homeless residents and providing housing opportunities, and as development in downtown Long Beach continues to expand, we need to redouble our efforts with an inclusive approach that involves the whole community in finding solutions.”
Though Long Beach has seen an 18 percent decrease in homelessness over the past two years, a regional rise in homelessness and the closure of many encampments on the L.A. River have pushed the mayor to evaluate past strategies and potentially devise new ones, through the scheduled study session, according to the release.
“This study session is a great next step in truly understanding the complex issues around homelessness and its impact on the City of Long Beach ” said First District Councilmember Lena Gonzalez in a statement. “It is critical that we focus on the facts, dispel some of the myths and create an action plan to move our City and our residents forward.”
The city has reportedly provided shelter to 1,738 people in the last year, and in July called upon the State of California to declare a State of Emergency regarding homelessness. The proposed budget also includes a staff person who will focus on innovation and sustainable ways to end homelessness.
“I am reminded daily of the struggles that so many Americans face as I ride through the district or walk through Lincoln Park,” said Councilmember Jeannine Pearce in a statement. “But I am thankful for the committed community members who are already doing great work to ensure that people have access to shelter and services. I know we can do more and that our efforts in the city will result with positive outcomes for Long Beach’s homeless population.”
“Homelessness is a major challenge for the city and our coastal beaches and marinas,” said Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price. “I’m looking forward to a thorough community process that includes a strong role for theHomeless Services Advisory Commission.”
Editor’s note: This story originally stated that homelessness in Long Beach has increased 18% of the past two years, when it has decreased by that amount. The error has been corrected.