The soon-to-be-eliminated cutout, decorated by chalk graffiti expressing criticism of the project. Photos by Ben Fisher.

The City of Long Beach is slated to eliminate a turnout at Lincoln Park in an effort to “alleviate some of the homeless issues at that site.”

Occupy Long Beach became aware of the City’s plan on Monday, posting text online that it apparently extracted from an internal City document. The Long Beach Post has independently confirmed that the source of the text is City Manager Pat West’s office.

The document describes “a minor capital improvement” to eliminate the “loading zone cutout” on Pacific Avenue between Broadway and 1st Street.

“This cutout is used on weekends for many out-of-town charitable or religious institutions to park vehicles and provide meals and other amenities to the homeless, making Lincoln Park somewhat of a ‘one-stop shop’ for homeless activities,” the document reads. “Public Works will begin to close the cutout to eliminate illegal parking of vehicles.”

According to Director of Government Affairs and Strategic Initiatives Tom Modica, work on the project will begin on July 30 and will cost $30,000.

Modica says that the cutout has not served its original purpose (as a drop-off spot for library books) for a long time, and that even though the curb is a red zone, vehicles regularly use the turnout for temporary parking. While Modica says he is unaware of both the document in question and of the project’s having a direct tie to the homeless population at Lincoln Park, he does say the City would prefer to have homeless persons obtain services at more appropriate locations.

A chalk graffito at the cutout quoting from the City document

A chalk graffito at the cutout quoting from the City document.

“We would rather have them come into the Multi-Service Center [for the Homeless]” he says, referring to the Homeless Services Division site at 1301 W. 12th St., which provides “outreach services, intake and assessment services, case management, as well as referrals to shelters and other social service programs.”

Susan Price—manager of the Bureau of Community Health (under whose purview the Multi-Service Center for the Homeless operates)—says she does not feel that eliminating the cutout will reduce the services available to the homeless.

“I think [the project] is an opportunity for faith-based and charitable organizations [that currently employ the cutout] to assist the homeless in more conducive ways,” she says. “From our perspective, we want to make sure that people have access to the resources that they need—and that includes food, income, and housing. […] People that want to contribute to make homeless people’s lives a bit easier, a bit more manageable, a bit safer—you know, make sure that people survive out there, obviously—we don’t want to perpetuate a long-term homelessness. What we’re trying to do is increase people’s ability to access resources so they can end their personal homelessness. That’s the focus for us in the Homeless Services Division. […] That would be the difference.”