Long Beach is setting up 60 beds for homeless individuals at its hub for social services in West Long Beach amid rain and temperatures that have dipped into the low 40s at night.
Officials said one unhoused individual died Friday from exposure. On Thursday, over 100 people without shelter camped out under the awning at the Billie Jean King Main Library in Downtown to stay dry as rain pummeled the area.
The emergency beds at the city’s Multi-Service Center will be in place for at least a week, through next Sunday. They will be available at 6 p.m. and cleared away before 8 a.m., when the center opens.
To secure a spot, people experiencing homelessness must visit the center at 6 p.m. each day. The beds will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Over the past three days, Long Beach has received close to 2.5 inches of rain. Temperatures have been unseasonably cold, with highs in the low- to mid-50s. More rain and cool weather are expected this week.
Officials said in a statement Sunday that its winter shelter at Community Hospital has been consistently at capacity since it opened on Dec. 19. That shelter has 81 beds.
A second winter shelter at Silverado Park in West Long Beach has stalled as residents have pushed back, saying they weren’t notified of this decision. The area, they said, already lacks recreation space, and has been forced to bear too much of the burden.
City staff were expected to convene early this week to discuss the 84-bed Silverado shelter, which was originally planned to open this week and operate through the end of May.
The city on Sunday said that its total number of interim beds has declined from about 530 to roughly 300 due to funding for various emergency housing programs ending.
“There is a persistent struggle to meet the sheltering needs of Long Beach’s residents who are unhoused, especially during this treacherous winter,” Jennifer Rice Epstein, a spokesperson for the city, said in a statement.
According to the city, outreach workers have been canvassing people to let them know that the beds at the MSC are available and will continue to do so throughout the week, according to Rice Epstein.
The Long Beach Health Department’s Homeless Services Bureau is also seeking community groups that can assist with evening meals at the MSC throughout the week. Those interested may call 562-570-4500 or email [email protected].
The Multi-Service Center operates as the city’s hub for homeless services and is located at 1301 W. 12th St.