Long Beach, News

Long Beach opens open-sanitation and water filling site for those experiencing homelessness

The city of Long Beach opened a Recreational Vehicle and Water Filling Site on April 10, designed to increase public safety amongst individuals currently housed in RVs or are experiencing homelessness.

According to the recently released 2022 Homeless Count, out of the 480 individuals who sought refuge in their vehicles, 100 were found to be residing in RVs.

The limited options available for disposing of waste have become a pressing issue for those living in such vehicles. Dump stations typically charge a fee for approved disposal, forcing many to discharge waste on medians, streets, or storm drains, which ultimately finds its way into city waterways.

To address this problem, an RV Sanitation and Water Filling was established. This facility aims to tackle the twin challenges of safe waste disposal and the protection of community health and the environment against raw sewage spills in public spaces.

The site can be accessed by individuals who have obtained a referral and reserved time slot from the city’s Multi-Service Center, which also connects people experiencing homelessness to services. At this station, users may safely dispose of raw sewage and obtain fresh water for their RVs.

The city’s only station operates in a non-residential area located near Cherry Avenue and 32nd Street and will be open on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The site’s strategic location off a major street corridor and near a freeway exit further enhances its accessibility for individuals with a required referral to use it.

Oversight of the station is provided by both the Public Works and Health Departments, while other City departments are offering operational assistance.

The Public Works Department has secured the site and will ensure that program participants have a safe path of travel. On the other hand, the Health Department is responsible for providing referrals to access the site through the Multi-Service Center and connecting individuals experiencing homelessness with additional services.

During operating hours, the site will be monitored by city staff to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Furthermore, the site will be under 24-hour surveillance by cameras. As an added security measure, the site is gated and will be locked outside of business hours.

In a recent press release, Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson noted that the site’s management strategy underscores the City’s commitment to providing a safe and secure environment for individuals living in RVs while prioritizing community health and well-being.

“By providing access to proper sanitation and water services, we are offering a vital resource to our community members living in RVs,” Richardson said.

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