City’s winter shelter transitioned to West Long Beach

The city’s Winter Shelter transitioned to a new location starting Wednesday, Dec. 1, according to city officials.

The new Winter Shelter is at 1718-1722 Hayes Ave., which is a just mile from the city’s Multi-Service Center, a facility that provides a wide variety of services and resources for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The shelter takes up about 5,400 square feet of the property, according to the city.

The city previously used this site as a temporary shelter during the 2019-2020 winter, but moved it to the old North Neighborhood Library to accommodate more people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As in the past, access to the shelter is through a special shelter bus, which has pick-ups and drop-offs at the Multi-Service Center, according to city health department spokeswoman Jennifer Rice Epstein.

City officials moved the Winter Shelter back to the Hayes Avenue location because the library is planned for development into affordable housing, which necessitated relocation, according to a report provided for the City Council.

There are Winter Shelters—temporary emergency shelters that provide protection for unhoused people during inclement weather—in all five LA County supervisorial districts. County officials require the Winter Shelter to provide intake, nightly shelter for individuals, showers, and two daily meals, according to the city.

The Winter Shelter program provides a “significant benefit” to the city, according to report dated Dec. 7 from the city’s Economic Development Department.

“The Program provides increased engagement opportunities with individuals experiencing homelessness to encourage enrollment into case management services, or employment and housing programs through the MSC, and further maximizes the effectiveness of those services to reduce homelessness in Long Beach,” states the report.

The nonprofit Volunteers With America Los Angeles will lease the property for the shelter from the city rent-free, and operate it through March 31, 2022, according to the city.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the lease with Volunteers with America Los Angeles at its Dec. 7 meeting.

Council approves contract to expand services at winter shelter in North Long Beach

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Anthony Pignataro is an investigative reporter and editor for the Long Beach Post. He has close to three decades of experience in journalism leading numerous investigations and long-form journalism projects for the OC Weekly and other publications. He joined the Post in May 2021.