In Our Mailbox - Letters to the Editor Graphic

City's Homeless Efforts

Dear Editor,

Regarding the statement from homeless people in last week’s Grunion, the city of Long Beach provides services both directly and through contracts with nonprofits. Services include homeless prevention, outreach, drop-in centers (hygiene services, mail, document collection, benefits advocacy and more), interim housing (emergency shelters, safe parking, transitional housing, motel vouchers and Project Roomkey and Homekey), rapid rehousing (up to two years of rental assistance and case management) and permanent supportive housing (long-term rental assistance and case management). 

The city of Long Beach in partnership with Century Housing and a number of other nonprofits have created over 2,000 interim and permanent units at the Villages at Cabrillo and is seen as a national model in public-private partnership in addressing homelessness and is one of the largest sites focused on homelessness in the country.

 During 2020, Long Beach and its partners added 199 units of permanent housing and opened a new year-round shelter with 125 new beds and opened a Project RoomKey site creating space for more than 130 persons that had increased vulnerabilities to COVID. The city of Long Beach has purchased, what used to be the Best Western hotel at 1725 Long Beach Blvd. and will provide 100 rooms for persons experiencing homelessness going forward. Los Angeles County has also purchased two hotels in Long Beach adding an additional 170 rooms here in Long Beach.

The city and other inter-jurisdictional partners do fund cleaning efforts to ensure that public health and ensuring public right of way is accessible for all people. The goal of the city throughout this process is to link people to services that will get them off the street. The city of Long Beach is in the process of bringing on additional outreach and creating mobile access centers and new types of interim housing capacity and options. 

Staff within the Department of Health and Human Services continually engage people until we can find something that works for each individual person, and continually looks for new ways to engage people we have not been successful in engaging into services. The Homeless Services Division regularly solicits input and receives feedback from people. To improve and formalize the feedback we receive the Long Beach Continuum of Care and Homeless Service Division are creating a lived experience advisory group to further ensure that we are hearing directly from the people who are currently experiencing homelessness and those that have gone through our services.

Paul Duncan

Homeless Services Officer

Mixed-Use Neighborhoods

Dear Editor,

Reading the article about Ma N Pa’s 100th anniversary, I was struck by the fact that it’s a “non-conforming” use. In addition to Ma N Pa, our neighborhood is full of other buildings and uses that would be illegal if built today — duplexes, fourplexes, diners, coffee shops, gyms, healthcare, childcare, and religious facilities, and more — due to the area’s “R-1” (single family home only) zoning. Together, these are what make Belmont Heights the incredible neighborhood that it is.

In some cases these buildings are legal non-conforming and in other cases special zoning has been applied to their specific sites, but in general they’re only allowed because they existed before our modern zoning rules were implemented.

Long Beach should follow the lead of cities such as Minneapolis, Portland, Berkeley, and Sacramento and move to get rid of the most restrictive R-1 zoning — not to force change upon neighborhoods or turn everywhere into downtown, but to allow the kinds of neighborhoods that we used to build, the kind that include single family homes among a mix of other building types and that (like Belmont Heights) remain among the most beloved and desired in the whole city today.

Steve White

Belmont Heights

Restaurant Mercy

Dear Editor,

Thank you for reporting on the “Long Beach Restaurant Owner Charged For Violating COVID-19 Restrictions.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone. It is quite unfortunate to see Restauration’s owner Dana Shay Tanner staring at fines and possible jail time. 

This is not to question the state guidelines over handling the pandemic. It is to state that Restauration is a welcome member of the community and serves a purpose to that community. Watching a local restaurateur working to maintain their community connection despite the pandemic is the hope people need to see. That is what will get the community through the pandemic. 

People need to be safe and smart about COVID 19. However, going after a local restauranteur, who is only doing their part, seems rather unnecessary. Hopefully, the charges will eventually drop off and the fines will be waived. The pandemic will end but it cannot be allowed to further punish businesses trying to do business. 

Looking forward to my next meal at Restauration.

Liam Meuse

Yorba Linda

Poor Priorities

Dear Editor,

We have lived in Long Beach for 20 years and witnessed the city emerge as a beautiful, modern and enriching city. We are proud residents.

But the new project of rebuilding the beach concession areas turned out to be disappointing. The one close to Shoreline Village is a section about 200 feet on the gray bike lanes. Huge letters in black were beautifully engraved there. 

In the center the street name ALAMITOS is printed twice, one facing the water and the other the land with smaller prints EAT PLAY LONG BEACH in between, and the end RESTROOMS and BIKE RENTAL printed twice. What a waste of prime space and public resources.

In our neighboring city Signal Hill, on the walkway of the Hilltop Park, a poem reflecting its history is engraved and you can see people slow down and read,  “Here on this hill, what perspective to see, our world, ourselves, with clarity….We come to this place, when life gets too fast, to reflect on time, make a sunset last…”

How inspiring our city is to engrave RESTROOMS twice on the prime spot!

Ching Duval

Long Beach

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