Long Beach has launched a new public dashboard with statistics on who is experiencing homelessness in the city, how full or empty emergency and short-term shelters have been, how many people have been able to find permanent housing and more.

The dashboard includes data for the past five years and is intended to be an easy-to-use resource for anyone who wants the information as well as a way for the city to spot trends and check its progress at providing services and housing to people, said Paul Duncan, the city’s homeless services bureau manager.

“It’s really to track how we’re doing as far as the metrics that we’ve identified wanting to make progress on,” he said Tuesday.

For example, some of the numbers highlight the difficulties in helping people get into long-term homes. One table shows the median length of time people spent in interim housing before finding a permanent situation more than doubled over four years, from 116 days in 2019 to 241 days in 2022.

According to another chart, out of more than 3,600 enrollments in an interim housing program, while the second largest chunk (more than 400 enrollees) moved on to a rental unit with a subsidy to help pay, the first and third most common outcomes, respectively, were going to an emergency shelter (rather than a permanent home) or to a “place not meant for habitation” such as a car, abandoned building or the street.

Duncan said the median number of days spent in a program to get permanent housing was noticeably shorter in 2020 because the city didn’t issue as many vouchers and people were being matched directly to specific units (it can take months to find an available apartment and a landlord willing to accept a voucher), but the length of wait spiked once the state issued a tranche of emergency vouchers and more people were competing for a limited number of units.

The data also indicate some progress: When the city launched the mobile access center in December, twice as many people who were reached that month declined services than the number who accepted them, but since January, the number accepting services each month has been at least a bit larger than those declining, meaning more people are seeking to change their circumstances.

In Mayor Rex Richardson’s weekly live update on homelessness, Dalton Dorr, a data analyst for the city’s Health and Human Services Department, explained that the dashboard data “is a story of capacity. Since January 10th, our shelter utilization rate is at the highest its ever been — it’s at 96%. … We are using the shelter beds that we have; if we were to put more online, if we were to get more shelter beds, we would use them.”

Richardson pointed to a statistic showing outreach workers have been able to connect people in encampments with services more than 50% of the time. To him, he said, it indicates “the outreach is working to a great extent, but if we have more services to offer, we can make a more meaningful difference in people’s lives.”

Duncan said more information will be added to the dashboard as it becomes available, and officials are already considering how to include data from the January homeless count, which should be publicly released by the end of next month.

The dashboard and other information on available services and how the city is addressing homelessness are at longbeach.gov/homelessness.