Residents to begin moving into former hotel converted to transitional housing on Monday

A former hotel in the city’s Washington neighborhood near Downtown will open its doors to homeless individuals on Monday as part of a new 102-unit transitional housing site, city officials said today.

The site is one of three former hotels and motels in Long Beach that was purchased with funds from the state’s Project Homekey program.

“We know that interim housing provides important, needed stability to help people transition out of homelessness,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a written statement. “There’s no question that lack of affordable housing in Long Beach remains a barrier for folks working towards their housing goals. This is an important step in our city’s continued work to eliminate homelessness.”

The city will begin moving residents from a temporary housing site set up during the pandemic, homeless shelters and two motels in the city’s motel voucher program, to the former Best Western at 1725 Long Beach Blvd. The move-in process will be staggered over the upcoming month, to allow both new residents and the service provider, Illumination Foundation, to get acclimated, according to a statement from Homeless Services Officer Paul Duncan.

In order to qualify for interim housing at the site, prospective residents must be either 65 or older, have an underlying health condition or be in the process of obtaining permanent housing.

“This program will provide shelter and other critical resources for those most vulnerable and at-risk,” Councilwoman Mary Zendejas, who represents the Downtown area, said in a written statement. “It is a privilege to bring this initiative to the First District while we will continue to look for even more innovative and sustainable ways to combat homelessness here in Long Beach.”

In July, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $600 million in grants for the Homekey program to further expand housing for the homeless who are especially at-risk for complications from COVID-19 due to age or underlying health conditions.

The City Council approved the $15 million purchase of the former Best Western in November, leaving an additional $2.3 million in grant funding for on-site services. LA County also acquired two properties in Long Beach, the Holiday Inn at 1133 Atlantic Ave. and the Motel 6 at 5665 E. Seventh Street.

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Alena Maschke writes about all things business and beyond for the Long Beach Business Journal/Long Beach Post. Born and raised in Germany, she first fell in love with California during an exchange year at UCLA. After receiving her master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 2017, she returned to the Golden State with an appetite for great stories, pupusas and the occasional Michelada.