Long Beach will extend its Safe Parking Program operations, which provides overnight parking spaces to unhoused people, through the rest of 2023, the city announced Wednesday.
When the shelter first opened in March at an underutilized parking lot near on Queensway Drive in the Shoreline area, the city only planned for the program to run for two months, due to other pre-existing events that had been scheduled nearby.
But the success of the program pushed the city to extend it through the end of the year while officials look for a more permanent site, a city statement said.
“The City’s Safe Parking Program provides a safe, dignified environment for people currently sheltering in their vehicles to park overnight while receiving access to basic needs and being connected to services,” according to the city.
With the extension of the program, the city has relocated its operations from the parking lot on Queensway Drive to the SouthShore Launch Ramp parking lot, just north of Queensway Drive.
Though the relocated site will only have a capacity for 26 vehicles—much lower than the 50 that were available the previous site—it could expand depending on demand, officials said. For now, according to the city, the 26 available spaces are “in line with current demand.”
“The City intends to operate a Safe Parking Program in this general area throughout 2023, either at SouthShore Launch Ramp or in the previous location off of Queensway depending on capacity needs, scheduled activities and accommodation of the many uses that operate in that area,” the city’s statement said.
The lot offers unhoused residents several amenities and resources, including a pet relief area, restrooms and hand-washing stations, according to officials.
The relocated site will also provide two security guards and a Homeless Services Bureau staff member on site to connect clients with services and offer housing-focused case management, according to the city.
Anyone interested in the Safe Parking Program must first receive a referral from the Multi-Service Center at 1301 W. 12th St., or through the city’s other outreach channels, including the Mobile Access Center.