Long Beach Gets Project Homekey Grant
The State of California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has awarded the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) a $30.5 million grant to create more interim housing for people experiencing homelessness. Approximately $25.2 million will be utilized for building and modular acquisition, installation and improvements, and the remaining $5.3 million for operations and services. The grant will enable the City to build 30 to 35 modular tiny homes at the Multi-Service Center (MSC) and purchase another motel for conversion to interim housing as well as to operate and provide services to the two sites through the City’s Project Homekey program.
“Ending homelessness is one of our top priorities in Long Beach,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “We are grateful to the State for this grant which will allow us to expand an incredibly successful program and create safe, supportive housing for people in need.”
The grant provides not only increased interim housing but also funds three years of operational support, which includes providing supportive services to help people work toward and achieve permanent housing. The modular tiny homes will be built on site at the MSC. The motel site purchase is being negotiated. The total number of new interim housing units will depend upon the motel site selected, but the number, inclusive of the MSC modular tiny homes, is expected to top 100 units. Each unit will include furniture and linens as well as a private bathroom. Staff and security will be on-site 24/7.
“This generous grant will go a long way in helping reduce street homelessness in Long Beach,” said Health Department Director Kelly Colopy. “As we continue to expand outreach, it is critical that we also can meet shelter needs for people who are ready to receive services.”
The City is expected to bring the grant award to the Long Beach City Council later this fall for consideration. It will take approximately 8 to 12 months from the time the Council officially accepts the grant and contracts are signed to the time the first new interim housing units would be made available for people seeking shelter.
The Health Department practices a housing first model, an evidence-based approach that lowers barriers to housing and addresses underlying causes of homelessness by providing supportive services to people while in interim housing.
Since 2020, the number of interim beds, not including the newly announced upcoming units, has increased from 60 to about 530. In addition to the long-running winter shelter, 344 non-congregate interim housing beds via Project Roomkey and Project Homekey, plus 125 new congregate interim housing beds via the Atlantic Bridge Community, have been added since 2020. In addition to providing a safe place to sleep, these sites match people to housing options as they become available and offer supportive services to help individuals move into permanent housing as quickly as possible. The City also can shelter 40 to 60 people per night in motels.
Affordable permanent housing units with supportive services for people experiencing homelessness have increased in recent years. Since 2020, The Spark at Midtown, Bloom at Magnolia, Vistas Del Puerto and Las Ventanas have collectively added 124 units, and another 209 are in development. The Long Beach Housing Authority also has been allocated 582 Emergency Housing Vouchers for people experiencing homelessness and at risk of homelessness. These vouchers include supportive services through other funding that the City received and, to date, more than 130 people have moved into housing.
For more information on the City’s efforts to reduce homelessness in Long Beach, visit longbeach.gov/everyonehomelb.