James Burnett has been living on the streets of Long Beach for seven years as his mother has tried desperately to get him long-term mental health care. Despite her efforts, he’s cycled through jails and hospitals, only ever getting short-term care. Photo courtesy Kimberlie Burnett.
Scott Humphrey, 61, had been homeless for six years before receiving a motel voucher and moving into the Colonial Motel in May. He is still there, trying to find a new place since the expanded motel voucher program is now ending.
John Dew, 62, became homeless for the first time in January. He was living with a friend before receiving a voucher and moving into the Coast Motel in May. He lived there until early November, and he is now back living in his car. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.
Valerie Oca was living in the Willow Street riverbed when she was placed at Days Inn on Pacific Coast Highway as part of Project Roomkey. When that program ended on Sept. 30, she went back to the riverbed. Read about Project Roomkey here. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.
Roshni Mercadel, 31, was living at the Days Inn as part of Project Roomkey for 18 months, until the program ended on Sept. 30. She received an emergency housing voucher, but so far has not found a landlord who will take it. Read about Project Roomkey here and the voucher program here. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.
Ronnie Maynard, 65, has been working his way out of homelessness, and volunteers at Long Beach’s Care Closet. Read about him and listen to a podcast here. Photo by Jackie Rae.
Lisa Stover, 53, has been homeless for the last eight months after the roof collapsed in the apartment she was renting on Seventh Street. She received an emergency housing voucher, but has yet to find a permanent place to call home. Read about her in a story looking at housing vouchers. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.
Kevin Yarbrough, 59, served in the U.S. Army from 1981-1984, when he was honorably discharged. He was homeless at least twice in the last seven years before receiving a VASH-HUD housing voucher, and was able to find an apartment in Downtown Long Beach. Read about him in a story looking at housing vouchers. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.
Cynthia Taylor, 71, had been living at the Days Inn as part of Project Roomkey for over a year until the program ended on Sept. 30. Read more about her here. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.
Homelessness in Long Beach
There has never been a time when more public money is being invested in trying to get people off the streets. Yet the number of unhoused individuals in Long Beach rose by a startling 62% in the last two years. Why has it been so hard to get people into permanent housing?
With soaring mental illness among unhoused people, Long Beach is scrambling to bolster a mental health system falling far short of the moment.
Over the last several months, the Long Beach Post has been investigating why our city and so many others across the state seem unable to solve the problem of homelessness despite a record influx of money.
Long Beach does not yet have data on how many individuals have found permanent housing or whether any participants have committed new crimes, but officials behind the homeless court program say it has been a success.
As money flowed in, numbers rose over the last two years
There are 3,296 homeless individuals in the city, an increase of 62%.
The number of people living in encampments or on the street rose 22%.
The number of people living in a vehicle rose by 380%.
The number of Homeless Services Bureau staff increased from 25 to 80.
The city’s budget for homeless services went from $10 million to nearly $80 million.
Long Beach has received $81 million in recovery act funds to prevent homelessness.
About this project
“Locked Out: Homelessness in Long Beach” is an ongoing project by the Long Beach Post. The series will explore this critical issue through in-depth reporting, interactive graphics, videos, photos—and most importantly through the experiences of people in our city.
If you have a news tip, or would like to see a particular issue explored, please email Executive Editor Melissa Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Levine of the LB Rescue Mission: Addressing homelessness means handling childhood trauma
NOVEMBER 15, 2022. | 26:29 | S3:E3
LONG BEACH POST 2022 INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING FUND
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