Long Beach is offering shelter to people experiencing homelessness through Sunday due to cold and stormy weather expected to persist throughout the week.
The Multi-Service Center (MSC, a homeless outreach shelter and service provider in Long Beach, is providing 60 beds to those in need.
The city of Long Beach has been experiencing inclement weather throughout the winter storm, with temperatures reaching the low 40s at night and heavy rain occurring on and off.
The homeless community in Long Beach is at risk of illness and death as a result of these unusual weather conditions. One person experiencing homelessness in the community died Feb. 24 due to exposure to the weather, according to Long Beach officials.
The expansion of shelter in the Multi-Service Center is one way the city is aiming to prevent additional health risks to the homeless community as the winter storm continues.
The 60 beds that are being provided until at least Sunday were offered since Feb. 26. The city and its neighboring partners already provide 1,300 beds to those in need of shelter in different areas within and around Long Beach.
According to a press release from the city, meeting the need for shelter within Long Beach’s homeless community has been a “persistent struggle,” particularly during the cold winter months.
Other emergency shelters, such as one providing 81 beds at Community Hospital, have remained full since opening.
Homelessness was declared an emergency in Long Beach in early January by the Long Beach City Council.
This proclamation allows the city to expand resources, speed up construction projects to provide additional shelter to those in need and more quickly engage needed services in the community.
The Multi-Service Center stated that beds are being provided to those in need on a first-come, first-serve basis through the first week of March.
According to a statement from the Multi-Service Center, capacity in the shelter has not been reached. On the night of Feb. 28, only 34 beds were used.
The center provides several different services to the homeless population in Long Beach.
Along with shelter, the MSC also opened up a “Mobile Access Center,” a vehicle providing mobile services and easier intake for those experiencing homelessness.
“The Multi-Service Center is unique to our region and offers a one-stop shop for many services folks need to get back on their feet,” said public affairs officer for the MSC, Jennifer Rice Epstein.
The Homeless Services Bureau of Long Beach is looking for community groups that can assist with providing meals to those seeking shelter in the Multi-Service Center.
To learn more, visit their website.