Long Beach receives state funding to increase housing and decrease homelessness

In this file photo, homeless individuals set camp at bus stops or in miscellaneous nooks and crannies on First Street, near Long Beach Boulevard, taken at around 3am on Friday, Jan. 4. The man in this photo said he did not want to be identified.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development gave the City of Long Beach $625,000 to increase the amount of housing available and help alleviate homelessness within the city, according to a press release from the City of Long Beach.

This will make Long Beach the first city in Los Angeles County to be given money through California’s SB 2 Planning Grants Program, according to the press release.

“Creating more quality, affordable housing is one of the city’s top priorities,” Mayor Robert Garcia said. “We have a responsibility to ensure that no one in our vibrant community is left behind, and that means making housing options accessible to all. This grant will help us sustain those priorities.”

Most of the funds will be used to re-zone parts of Anaheim Street from commercial to mixed-use residential zones, the press release said.

An opportunity analysis for housing development and a needs assessment were conducted before the decision to re-zone the area was reached, the press release stated.

It is hoped that by zoning more areas for residential use and then building several thousand apartments and condominiums there, overcrowding and rental cost burdens will be lessened, the city’s press release read.

The changes are also meant to make the area more pedestrian friendly for current and new residents, the city announced.

“Long Beach continues to evolve as a desirable place for residents,” Linda Tatum, director of the Department of Development Services, said. “This state grant supports our efforts as a City to create affordable housing that strengthens our neighborhoods and commercial corridors.”

The remaining funds will be given to a proposed city-run homeless shelter in north Long Beach, as well as to create 1,000 additional units to Century Village at Cabrillo, a community that combats homelessness by offering supportive services and affordable housing, according to the press release.