Long Beach officials must find a new location for the city’s long-awaited multi-million dollar tiny home community meant to provide more shelter options for residents living on the street, staff announced Tuesday.

Originally planned to be constructed adjacent to the city’s Westside homeless services hub, the Multi-Service Center, city staff found the site is not viable “due to some potential impacts of some port construction projects,” said Alvin Teng, special projects coordinator for the Homeless Services Bureau.

“As a result, the city is currently reviewing and assessing other potential project sites in the city,” Teng said, adding that staff would engage with city leaders and residents about potential sites “in the near future.”

Teng made the comments during a live-streamed conversation with Mayor Rex Richardson about the city’s homelessness emergency response. City officials do not take questions during the weekly livestream. City staff and the mayor’s office did not immediately provide answers to questions the Long Beach Post sent after the stream ended.

During the livestream, Richardson called the news a “stumble.”

“I wouldn’t call it a roadblock, I would just say a stumble,” he said. “I’ve seen what the city is capable of doing.”

He and Teng did not say if this would delay the installation of the tiny homes, which this city previously said could be completed by year’s end.

City staff has been researching the project since 2021, including surveying unhoused residents, nearly 90% of whom said they would be interested in moving into a small, private dwelling, Teng said.

Ultimately, staff determined the project would have 33 units (6 that are ADA accessible) with private bathrooms and showers. They would each have water, power and sewage utilities, according to Teng. Each unit also will include HVAC and fire suppression systems.

In August of last year, officials announced the Long Beach Health Department was awarded a $30.5 million grant—over $25 million of which was to be used to construct the modular homes.

Despite not having a site, architecture and construction consultants are already working on the design of the space, Teng said. Construction of the tiny homes is already underway by Los Angeles-based Connect Homes, he added.

Once completed, Teng said the community would house adults, prioritizing people who are chronically unhoused for a year or longer. The site will feature communal areas with fencing and lighting, a security station, office space for case management, gathering spaces and warming kitchens for food.

In addition to case management and daily meals, residents will receive referrals to other services such as mental health and/or addiction treatments, Teng said.

“Having a stable, secure and safe place to live is really a prerequisite for people to be able to overcome their barriers to be permanently housed,” Teng said. “We do remain extremely committed to rolling this project forward as quickly as possible, especially in light of our emergency and recognizing the urgent need for interim housing.”

Long Beach’s most recent homeless count found there were 3,447 unhoused residents in the city, of whom 2,456 were not living in any kind of shelter.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the number of unhoused residents not living in any kind of shelter.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.