Long Beach’s mobile homeless service van to pop up in more locations, expand schedule

A staffed Mobile Access Center that has been offering services to Long Beach’s homeless population in Downtown will get a new schedule with a few new locations starting Monday, city officials announced Friday.

Previously, the MAC rotated between three locations, three days a week. Beginning Monday, the city will extend that service to five days a week and rotate between the following locations from 9 a.m. to noon each day:

  • Mondays: In the North Los Altos Shopping Center parking lot northeast of the Stearns Street and Bellflower Boulevard intersection.
  • Tuesdays: In Houghton Park, 6301 Myrtle Ave., along the side of the park on Atlantic Avenue.
  • Wednesdays: Billie Jean King Main Library, 200 W. Broadway, on the Pacific Avenue side of the library.
  • Thursdays: In the North Los Altos Shopping Center parking lot northeast of the Stearns Street and Bellflower Boulevard intersection.
  • Fridays: In Houghton Park, 6301 Myrtle Ave., in the parking lot located off Myrtle Avenue.

Previously, the Promenade at Ocean Boulevard and the corner of East Sixth Street and Long Beach Boulevard were on the MAC’s list of regular locations, but city officials told the Long Beach Post on Friday that the location list will likely change each month to reach more unhoused people where they’re at.

“A variety of factors, including years of contact data, distance from the Multi-Service Center (MSC), and service accessibility, were taken into consideration when selecting the new service areas,” a Friday statement from the city’s Joint Information Center reads.

The mobile service is meant to serve as a satellite for Long Beach’s Multi-Service Center, which is the city’s only brick-and-mortar location that offers homeless intake services. But the building is situated in an industrial area of West Long Beach that’s sometimes hard to access.

To increase access to services, the city is expected to deploy a second mobile unit “in the coming weeks,” officials said Friday.

A staffed van was first parked in Downtown on Dec. 7, one month before the city declared a state of emergency over homelessness. Since then, MAC staff has been able to reach 414 people and connect 204 of them with services such as basic medical services, transportation to shelter, enrollment into a homeless service system and more.

“Data show that some people are contacted 10 or more times before becoming open to receiving services, which is why deploying the MAC is critical to the City’s emergency response efforts and mission to reduce the number of residents experiencing homelessness,” the city’s news release reads.

According to a Friday tweet about the MAC from Mayor Rex Richardson, city staff were able to reunite a woman with her family after they saw her on a missing person’s report. City officials did not immediately respond to the Post to provide more information about the woman.

Currently, the MAC offers case management services, basic medical aid and referrals to the city’s shelters and partner agencies. A full-time health clinic is not offered, but often, a public health nurse is present.

The MAC is staffed with various city employees including outreach workers, a public health nurse and sometimes staff from the Fire Department. Starting Monday, the MAC will also be staffed with case managers, officials told the Post.

The single most common request that MAC staff receive is for vital documents, Reynosa told the Post last month. Another common request is one for shelter, which remains scarce as the city looks for a second site to host unhoused people living in Long Beach.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more information from city staff and with new Mobile Access Center locations for Mondays and Thursdays. 

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