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City Council hopes to provide shelter and services for the homeless through city-wide funding

Long Beach estimated to spending more than $14 million to address the homeless issue.

Photo illustration by Jade Inglada

Photo illustration by Jade Inglada

Cris Rivera, Staff Writer

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The Long Beach City Council voted to approve and accept funding in order to address the homeless population Tuesday night.  

Although the homeless population in Long Beach has decreased according to a count earlier this year conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, homelessness remains an issue for many Southern California cities, including Long Beach.

The city currently has various homeless services implemented like the Century Villages at Cabrillo. CVC is a nonprofit organization located on the west side of Long Beach on River Avenue which provides housing for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.

“We see here single mothers, single fathers with children,” said Council member Lena Gonzalez. “We can never even imagine children on the street, but unfortunately they are and they have been in our city.”

Director of Residential Services, Kimberly Crawford Wee, presented a social impact report that showed in 2016 CVC provided housing for more than 2,000 individuals. U.S. veterans account for 980 of those receiving housing. 

Kelly Colopy, director of health and human services, said there will be about $2.8 million in additional funding. The money will allow city officials to focus on homelessness prevention for single adults, rapid rehousing and outreach services.

“Approximately $1.8 million is specific to direct services now,” said Colopy. “The remaining funding will allow for the ability to provide physical enhancements to a building for a year-round shelter.”

Measure H will provide funding for homelessness through a sales tax increase of one-quarter of a percent for Los Angeles County.

The council also discussed naturalization for residents who wish to become U.S citizens. In Long Beach, naturalization services are provided by the Centro Community Hispanic Association.

“In this year we have assisted over 500 people with their naturalization,” said Jessica Quintana, president of centro CHA. “A lot of our residents have been integrated into our community for a very long time.”

In addition, Quintana also explained how the organization helps individuals with application for renewal requests for deferred status.

Quintana asked the council if they could help organize funding for the applications due to the cost per application being $495.

“Long Beach really needs a fund account to help these DACA students,” council member Dee Andrews said. “We just don’t have the funding to be able to support that ourselves.”

Centro CHA will have citizenship application completion workshops for Long Beach residents. Date and times can be found on Centro CHA’s website.

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