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Housing and Homelessness

Long Beach Reports Smallest Increase Since 2019 In Count Of Unhoused People — But Says A Lot More Work Is Needed

Greet cots are spread out inside a gymnasium floor. A man in the foreground with dark-tone skin is reading in his bed.
A unhoused man reads a book inside a 75 beds emergency shelter at the Martin Luther King Jr Park to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus in Long Beach on April 11, 2020.
(Apu Gomes
AFP via Getty Images)
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On Jan. 26, volunteers worked in the early morning hours to count unhoused people in Long Beach — a city of more than 450,000 residents.

About the findings

Those results were released Thursday, showing a 4.6% rise over the previous year in the number of unhoused people counted in the point-in-time survey.

In raw numbers, it was up about 150 people from last year's count of just under 3,300 people. But city officials noted, it's the smallest increase Long Beach has reported since 2019.

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"We certainly have a lot of work to do," said Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson, "but I'm encouraged by the story that this tells about where we are as it relates to the recovery."

Understanding the numbers

The city identified 3,447 people experiencing homelessness in January of 2023 compared to 3,296 people in 2022, signifying a 4.6% increase, Richardson said. Also, of those counted:

  • 59% are sheltered, 18% are living in a vehicle and 19% report experiencing being unhoused for less than a year.
  • 53% of those surveyed reported experiencing being unhoused for the first time, while 39% reported being unhoused for more than a year, and have a "disabling condition," Richardson said.

Kelly Colopy, the city's public health director, added that "the newly homeless are more likely to identify as women or as gender binary and are more likely to identify as Latinx or Asian-Pacific Islander."
Colopy also said members of the newly unhoused population are also most likely to be victims of domestic violence, struggle with finding employment and mental and physical health.

What's next

Richardson said a new temporary shelter with more than 85 beds is opening Thursday night, and there are plans for another 78 beds in North Long Beach by this fall.

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