LBC Vision Plan Highlights Needs and Hopeful Solutions
By Dianne Anderson
A recent Forwarding the Sixth Vision Plan drew input on priorities from community members across the Sixth District of Long Beach, now neatly compiled within a 134-page report highlighting the tough challenges, and hopeful solutions.
Of the top concerns expressed in the report, 22% of the community said street cleanliness and public safety are the most pressing issues in the district. Homelessness was also a big concern for 18% of survey participants. Rent control and affordable housing came in at 17%.
Councilmember Suely Saro said cleanups are being addressed through the Long Beach $4 Million Clean Cities allocation to help reduce illegal dumping. She said her team of neighborhood leaders is encouraging more association and group cleanups.
“New equipment will allow for staff to access narrow alleys and other difficult terrain for cleanups and provide additional support to neighborhood associations and other group cleanup activities for litter abatement in commercial corridors and support cleaning properties owned by other jurisdictions,” she said in an email.
Efforts continue with LBPD to improve communications, communications, transparency, accountability, and services to work with the community. As Chair of the Public Safety Committee Meeting, she said the redesign of the Citizen Police Complaint Commission resulted in an initial report of recent recommendations.
There is no rent control ordinance in the City of Long Beach, but she said housing stability and affordability are a great concern, especially through the last two COVID years. The city created the Long Beach Emergency Rental Assistance Program (LB-ERAP) to assist landlords and income-eligible renters that experienced COVID-related financial loss or hardship with past due bills and future payments, including utilities.
“The program will prioritize assisting lower-income tenants who have been unemployed for 90 days or more and who are at risk of housing instability. The deadline to submit an application is 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, 2022,” she said.
More housing is in the works. Recently, she said the Long Beach Senior Center broke ground, with completion expected by next year. Last July, the city also celebrated Spark at Midtown, a 95-unit affordable housing community. Last November, groundbreaking of Anaheim and Walnut brings a new 88-unit affordable housing community in Cambodia Town. Last month, they welcomed the grand opening of Vistas del Puerto, a new 48-unit affordable housing project in the Midtown community.
In the works, the American Rescue Plan is also funding economic recovery. Several Long Beach Recovery Act programs were initiated to address immediate needs in the community, she added, including business grants, corridor cleanups, and new programs for the homelessness prioritized in the coming months.
“I am very excited about the $7.6 million in the FY 2022 for the Economic Inclusion to support the recovery from the COVID 19 pandemic. The City of Long Beach recently released the ‘Small Business and Non-Profit Relief Grants’, a new recovery program to help small businesses and nonprofits that have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
John Malveaux, president of the Central Area Association, lives in St. Mary’s Tower, a federally funded low-income housing unit for seniors, owned by Mercy Housing of California. He said it’s well kept and well-managed and rent is at one-third of income.
He’d like to see more similar affordable units come up to meet the growing demand for low income seniors.
One new affordable 67 unit housing project, also by Mercy Housing, will serve low and very low income seniors, located at the northwest corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway broke ground earlier this month.
As a long time resident, he wants to see more city parks and facilities named after African Americans who have worked directly in the city of Long Beach. He feels there are many local greats working in the trenches, even Black business owners, that should be recognized for their efforts, like Al Williams of the Long Beach Jazz Festival.
He said another example is Carolyn Caldwell, CEO of Dignity health St. Mary’s Hospital. She also chairs the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce.
“Why not name a park after her? Al Williams is an example of someone worthy,” he said. “It paints the picture of you’re not worthy of something being named after you.”
In his many decades in the city, he said he has seen his share of costly planning and reports.
“We are in some parts victims of that standard procedural thing that takes place,” he said.
But he hopes that as the city receives grants to write the plans, it will result in tangible benefits.
“The city also had a plan for Atlantic Avenue to make it a corridor from Artesia all the way to downtown, which would be through the [Sixth] district — all of that planning and reporting and it never happened,” he said.
To learn more about LB-ERAP, see:
To read the Vision Plan report, see
Learn more about Long Beach small business grant programs, see