City officials searching for winter shelter site; other shelters near capacity

Colder weather has arrived and city-run homeless shelters are near capacity, but Long Beach is still looking for a location for its temporary winter shelter that is funded through Los Angeles County.

Neither of the two sites used in the past four years are available, officials said, including the former North Long Beach Library location on Orange Avenue that is slated to be developed into affordable housing. The other site that has been used, an industrial building on Hayes Street in West Long Beach, is being developed into transitional housing for youth.

Deputy City Manager Teresa Chandler said the city is working with a broker for other opportunities and is getting close to securing a space, with the goal of opening by mid-December.

“It’s always a challenge because the shelter is open for a short amount of time,” she said.

The winter shelter is typically run by the nonprofit Volunteers of America and is funded through the Los Angeles Homeless Services Agency, which funds shelters from Nov. 1 through March 31.

Five shelters in the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County opened Nov. 1. Last year’s winter shelter in Long Beach opened Dec. 1.

The county this year also launched a new service model, in which they are opening fewer winter shelter sites, and instead offering 142 emergency motel vouchers in the city of Los Angeles and 367 to other cities countywide during periods of inclement weather.

Long Beach isn’t managing those vouchers, but residents here could take advantage of them through the county, Chandler said.

They will be offered only under certain conditions, such as more than an inch of rain predicted in a 24-hour period.

Meanwhile, capacity at the new congregate shelter in North Long Beach, the Atlantic Farms Bridge Housing Community, is at 90%, health department officials said. The city’s Project Homekey hotel site at the former Best Western is 99% full, and a separate motel program, Project Roomkey, has been largely shut down.

Other nonprofit organizations also run shelters and may have beds, including the Long Beach Rescue Mission and Project Achieve run by Catholic Charities of Los Angeles.

Long Beach will try to speed up homeless encampment sweeps before Christmas tree lighting

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Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.
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