Gov. Gavin Newsom paid a visit to Long Beach on Wednesday, where he announced that $199 million in new funding will go to 22 communities statewide to help fund homeless encampment cleanups and to get 7,300 affected people into housing.
Long Beach unsuccessfully applied for this round of funding, so the city will not receive any of it, but Newsom pointed to the city’s success in using last year’s funding to clean up MacArthur Park, where he made the announcement.
City officials said Long Beach will apply again in a later round.
The money was intended to help communities “reclaim parks like this, MacArthur Park,” Newsom told Spectrum News while he was in Long Beach on Wednesday.
The $199 million is the third, and largest, round of funding to go toward encampment cleanups and those affected by them. Previously, 26 communities around the state were awarded $96 million from that fund over two rounds, according to the governor’s office.
Last year, Long Beach received $1.3 million from the fund, which the city says went toward outreach and shelter services to those living in encampments around MacArthur Park and the Mark Twain Neighborhood Library. A total of 40 households were moved into shelter through the program, according to city officials.
“When this program started, we helped to place 40 people in the Hyland Inn, many of whom have now transitioned to permanent housing. Just this year, 26 people are now permanently housed after staying in our nearby Project Roomkey site at the Best Western!” Mayor Rex Richardson tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.
The city also received at least $150,000 last year from L.A. County to coordinate clean-up efforts, train local police officers in “non-traditional” ways of approaching those experiencing homelessness and to implement better outreach and hospital discharge.
In this new round of funding, Newsom said that Los Angeles County would receive the largest portion, $59.5 million, which will go toward helping 3,000 people living on Skid Row. In addition to that, the continuum of care for the city and county of L.A. will get $13.4 million to serve 200 people.
“It was clear to me a couple years ago that unless we dealt with the encampments, no one’s going to believe anything we’re doing on homelessness,” Newsom told Spectrum News during his Wednesday visit. “(People) want to see these encampments cleaned up and they don’t understand why there’s so many tents everywhere, and if they understand it intellectually, they’re like, ‘Well, where’s the money going to solve for that?’ So this has been one of the most successful programs in the state.”
Newsom’s arrival in the city came just one day after the City Council voted to approve the purchase of 702 W. Anaheim St., the former Rescue Mission building. The building is currently serving as a temporary shelter, but eventually it will be transitioned to a year-round shelter facility. It currently has a capacity of 85 beds.
The shelter’s $13.2 million price tag will be split between the city and Los Angeles County. The county has pledged $6.5 million to help pay for the acquisition and improvements needed within the warehouse.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more information from the state Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency and from the city of Long Beach.