Long Beach Homeless Delivery Truck Moves Beyond Downtown Next Week – News Wire

Long Beach’s Mobile Access Center provides social services to the homeless. (Photo courtesy of Long Beach)

The Long Beach Mobile Access Center, which has reached out to more than 400 homeless people since it opened in mid-January, will relocate to other neighborhoods outside of downtown starting Monday, March 6.

The Mobile Access Center, also known as MAC, is a van in which Homeless Services Bureau employees drive around to make contact and provide various services to people living on the streets.

City officials initially announced the launch of the MAC on Jan. 12 as part of its effort to accelerate resources for the homeless under Long Beach’s local homelessness emergency declaration. The van was originally scheduled to run downtown for three weeks before moving to other parts of the city, but stayed in that area due to high demand.

But the city announced Friday, March 3, that the van will finally be relocating somewhere else in Long Beach starting Monday. The schedule of the van will be:

Mondays: Los Altos Market Center parking lot southeast of the intersection of Stearns Street and Bellflower Boulevard. Tuesdays: Houghton Park, 6301 Myrtle Ave. Wednesdays: Billie Jean King Main Library, 200 W. Broadway. Thursdays: Bellflower Boulevard and East 23rd Street area, north of the intersection of Bellflower Boulevard and Stearns Street. Fridays: Houghton Park.

Officials used various dates to determine which areas of Long Beach to attack, the city said in its Friday news release. In some cases, homeless service workers must contact someone who is homeless at least 10 times before they become receptive to receiving services, the city said.

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“The MAC significantly lowers barriers to the delivery of case management services and other resources to people affected by homelessness,” the city’s press release said. “Unlike other forms of street switching, the MAC allows responders to begin the onboarding process right on the street and offers almost everything that is available in the MSC.”

The MAC spoke to 414 people and connected 204 to services on Monday, February 27, the press release said. These services include referral and transportation to emergency shelters, enrollment in the homeless assistance system, liaison with community resources, and provision of basic medical services.

In its press release, the city once again teased another MAC van that will go online in the coming weeks.

Operation of both vans will be paid under US dollars from Long Beach’s US bailout plan for the next three years, Homeless Services Bureau chief Paul Duncan said, along with some funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The MAC was created shortly after the City Council declared a local homelessness emergency at the urging of Mayor Rex Richardson. The City and County of Los Angeles have also declared local emergencies to help resolve the ongoing homelessness crisis.

The declarations aim to remove some of the bureaucratic hurdles associated with the delivery of social services to the homeless community and the development of emergency and transitional shelters.

They are also meant to underscore the urgency officials say they need to resolve the crisis.

Long Beach counted 3,296 people who were homeless during last year’s cut-off survey of those without permanent housing, up from 2,034 in 2020. That represents a 62% increase from 2020 to 2022.

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And of those counted, 69% were unprotected.

Long Beach conducted its 2023 Homeless Census on Jan. 26, but the results of that survey won’t be available until this summer.

Meanwhile, as part of its emergency response, Long Beach has implemented an Incident Command System — made up of nine squads and 100 personnel — to address various aspects of emergency response. Long Beach used a similar system to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier last month, the city also announced it would be adding 30 to 35 makeshift tiny home units at its multi-service center and inked a $2.2 million deal with First to Serve Outreach Ministries to Long Beach’s fourth Project Homekey Motel location for temporary accommodation.

And in January, the city began offering local landlords a range of financial incentives — including direct payments to cover lease premiums and security deposits — to encourage property owners to accept vouchers from low-income residents facing housing instability.

But not all of Long Beach’s initiatives have been smooth sailing.

Richardson, for example, announced on Tuesday, February 28 that Long Beach would no longer build a second winter shelter at Silverado Park — following community pushback.

The Silverado Park gym was poised to join the former community hospital as seasonal housing to protect the homeless from harsh winter weather. It would have added 84 beds; The community hospital has 81 beds.

However, this location has drawn criticism, with opponents citing concerns about safety and equitable access to recreation spaces.

“Having heard from the surrounding community,” City Manager Tom Modica wrote in an open letter to the community released shortly after Richardson’s announcement, “it was apparent that transforming a programmed commons like the gym into an area lacking in green space would result in a significant loss of access to a commons, even temporarily.”

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Instead, Richardson said in his announcement, city officials will be in touch with neighborhood leaders and other community stakeholders throughout the week to determine a better site for the second winter shelter.

Despite this hiccup, Long Beach officials have consistently stressed that they must do whatever they can to help the homeless.

And the MAC vans seem to be a crucial part of that.

“This outreach will allow Homeless Services Bureau employees to continue to meaningfully engage,” the city’s Friday press release said, “and continue to build relationships, an essential component of improving access to resources and services.”

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