Long Beach plans to end its proclaimed emergency on homelessness by the end of February, city officials told the City Council Tuesday night. The move, they said, comes amid a transition to a new model of managing the crisis that includes thousands of unhoused people living in the city.

Deputy City Manager Teresa Chandler told the council Tuesday night that the city is creating a new structure to coordinate the homelessness response. It would be headed by the city manager’s office and include the health department, office of equity and a new “Everyone Home” office that could include three or four new positions.

Chandler said they hope the new office will be established by spring of 2024.

Long Beach has been under a homelessness emergency for nearly a year. The city declared the state of emergency in January 2022, a move that was intended to allow city contracts and construction projects to move more rapidly as “red tape” was reduced by granting the city manager more power.

During the emergency, Long Beach has increased its year-round shelter by acquiring a former thrift store on Anaheim Street — which is now serving as the city’s winter shelter — and made more homeless services accessible through mobile units. It’s also increased the amount of outreach work staff performs. However, some of the city’s largest projects are behind schedule.

Paul Duncan, the city’s Homeless Services Bureau manager, said Tuesday that a 78-room homeless housing project in North Long Beach that was originally supposed to open in October is now slated to break ground in February. The project involves converting the Luxury Inn on Long Beach Boulevard into temporary housing, but it’s been delayed because of problems securing a contractor.

A planned youth navigation center that will provide 12 beds and storage for youth who are living on the streets was also delayed by issues with a contractor and is set to break ground in mid-January, according to Duncan. Both projects could be further delayed if the El Nino season’s rain forces work postponements, Duncan previously said.

A third project, a 33-unit tiny home village was originally supposed to open in October as well, but the city had to move the project from next to its homeless services hub called the Multi-Service Center to a parcel next to Willow Springs Park because of concerns that a rail project near the Multi-Service Center would subject residents to untenable levels of noise and pollution. The new anticipated opening date of that project is early 2025, according to the city.

It’s not clear yet what effect the state of emergency has had on homelessness. Long Beach is preparing to perform its annual homeless count in January. Last year’s count found 3,447 people living in some state of homelessness, up from the 3,296 people the city counted in 2022.

The council is expected to get an update about the emergency at least one more time in early February before the members could vote to end the proclamation at the end of that month.

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.