The City of Long Beach announced a new initiative, Everyone Home Long Beach, to address the city’s homeless crisis. The project aims to improve cohesiveness among city service providers and to examine the related issue of housing affordability.
“The city does exemplary work around homelessness, so I’m glad to see this bigger initiative develop,” Long Beach Health & Human Services Director Kelly Colopy stated. “Bringing together more great minds to support the staff and agencies currently working to serve the needs of those experiencing homelessness in our neighborhoods can only bring our efforts to the next level.”
The measure plans to build on the efforts already underway to help the homeless population. According to the city, Long Beach is only one of three cities in Los Angeles County to have its own continuum of care program, which is a coordinated effort among city departments, such as police, fire and public works, to provide services for the homeless. The Health & Human Services Department also funds 12 different nonprofit agencies to connect individuals to resources in mental health, employment and housing.
The overall goal of the new initiative is to develop new solutions to provide housing as well as strategies to prevent homelessness in the first place. According to the city, prevention is one of the services in the continuum of care that receives the least amount of funding.
“While Long Beach has done some amazing work to address homelessness, it is clear we must do more,” Mayor Robert Garcia said. “This initiative is designed to mobilize the entire community to create new pathways into homes and to increase efforts to prevent our residents from becoming homeless in the first place.”
A task force comprised of city executives and community leaders plans to meet through the summer and present a report to the mayor and city council in the fall. Members include California State University, Long Beach President Jane Close Conoley as the chair and Andy Kerr, Measure H Citizens’ Oversight Advisory Boardmember as vice chair. Other members are: Reagan Romali, LBCC superintendent; Chris Steinhauser, LBUSD superintendent; John Bishop, president Memorial Medical Center; Carolyn Caldwell, president St. Mary Medical Center; Brian D’Andrea, president Century Villages at Cabrillo; Jeff Johnson, chair of Homeless Services Advisory Committee; Janet McCarthy, president of Goodwill Southern Los Angeles County; Erin Rank, president of Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles; John Molina, partner – PAC 6; Christine Petit, executive director, Long Beach Forward/Building Healthy Communities; Chris Miller, president Long Beach Mental Health America; Susana Sngiem, executive director United Cambodian Community; Jessica Quintana, executive director Centro CHA; Jeff Levine, program director Long Beach Rescue Mission and co-chair Continuum of Care; John Thomas, chair Long Beach Community Investment Corporation; Randy Gordon, president Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce; Kraig Kojian, president Downtown Long Beach Alliance; Porter Gilberg, executive director Long Beach LGBTQ Center; Gregory Sanders, president Long Beach Ministers Alliance ;Suny Lay Chang, chief operating officer LINC Housin • Kenneth McDonald, CEO Long Beach Transit; Brenda Threatt, executive director U.S. VETS Long Beach; and Chris Wing, CEO, SCAN Health Plan.