As the city’s homeless shelters quickly filled up with people looking to get out of the rain during Tropical Storm Hilary, Long Beach officials have secured 50 more beds to protect people from the severe weather.
The city has secured 30 more beds at MacArthur Park and 20 motel vouchers amid the heightened demand, Health Department spokesperson Jennifer Rice Epstein said Sunday evening.
City workers have been conducting “extensive outreach” along the riverbeds “to engage and educate people about safety concerns and help connect people seeking shelter to safer places to sleep.”
As of Sunday afternoon, 104 out of 110 beds added to the Multi-Service Center and Long Beach Rescue Mission in anticipation of the severe weather this weekend had been filled. Ten people, meanwhile, have been housed at motels using vouchers, officials said.
The search for more bed space was critical even as a shelter at Silverado Park, where 75 beds were set up to house Catalina Island residents, ultimately went unused.
But the lack of uptake on the Silverado Park shelter from people evacuating the island wasn’t for a lack of effort from the city, according to Epstein.
“Every time a boat came in, they were aware of what we offered,” she said. “We didn’t have anyone come out and make use of the effort.”
This prompted the city to demobilize the shelter Sunday afternoon, where it will remain on standby as part of the city’s emergency shelter plan, should there be any major event, such as an earthquake, fire or power outage “that needs humanitarian relief,” Epstein said.
Use of the Silverado Park site to house people experiencing homelessness during Tropical Storm Hilary, though, does not comply with the city’s emergency shelter plan, according to Epstein.
The city’s 2023 homeless count found there to be 3,447 people unhoused people in the city.
Regardless of the number of beds available, Epstein suggests anyone looking for shelter still call the Multi-Service Center or the Long Beach Rescue Mission, “and we’ll see what we can do.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that officials have identified 50 additional bed spaces for people experiencing homelessness.