Hello Long Beach! Here’s a recap of some of the latest local news to start the week of February 27, 2023.
Long Beach ends COVID-19 state of emergency
During last week’s regular session meeting, the Long Beach City Council voted to end the COVID-19 state of emergency. This means the grants that fund employees in vaccine and testing sites, virus case investigations, and school outbreak response teams will come to an end by July 2024. Health Department director Kelly Colopy expressed that the city will be working to identify ways to create transitional employment plans for those who have obtained jobs from COVID-19. According to City Manager Tom Modica, COVID-19 will still be monitored by the Health Department, just not at the level that it has been for the last three years due to a significant drop in cases. Learn more here.
$1,500 to businesses impacted by crime will be offered through the Visual Improvement Grant
Long Beach has recently announced the Visual Improvement Grant Program which will grant small businesses $1,500 if they have been impacted by crime or vandalism after Oct. 1, 2022. This grant is intended to alleviate store-front repair costs, boarding costs, insurance deductibles, and business operating expenses. The approval of this program was inspired by the increased crime rates in the city from 2021 to 2022 that have caused damage to small business properties. A total of $350,000 will be allotted through the Long Beach Recovery Act Funds, and the program will finish once the money is used up. Small business owners are encouraged to apply here as soon as possible. Learn more here.
$25,000 for the beautification of storefronts will be offered through the Commercial Corridor Façade Improvement Program
The Commercial Corridor Façade Improvement Program is focused on enhancing the appearance of commercial properties in select areas of Long Beach. The program will grant up to $25,000 per storefront for painting, awnings, signage, lighting, address plaques, artwork, and more. Applicants are free to select their own contractors, but all work must meet the development standards in the City’s adopted zoning, building, and safety codes. Commercial property owners must be located in the Place-Based Neighborhood Improvement Strategy & the Racially and Ethnically Concentrated Area of Poverty areas in order to qualify (See map here). Those who are interested in applying can learn more here.
Metro to provide homeless services along the A Line
Metro’s board of directors unanimously voted to begin the discussion to create hubs that provide things like temporary shelter, access to homeless services, a place to charge a phone, and a place to wash up. According to the Long Beach Post Long Beach officials had asked Metro to reevaluate how their end-of-the-line policies In October to see how it could be impacting cities where people are forced off trains once they are closed. Currently, passengers are forced to exit the train once service ends at approximately 1 a.m. This has been a growing concern for downtown residents as there has been an apparent increase in homelessness around the city which has had some negative impacts on the local community. Sites for the hubs could be announced as early as April.
Long Beach Unveils Mobile Access Centers
The Long Beach Health Department has set up 60 warming beds as of Sunday to help those in need combat the consistently windy, cold, and wet weather conditions Southern California is experiencing. The beds will be at the Multi-Service Center located at 1301 W. 12 St from 6 p.m. till they are removed before daily MSC operations beginning at 8 a.m. The city has struggled to meet the needs of unhoused residents after someone died due to exposure to the element Friday, Feb. 24. However, the city is staying committed to providing shelter for unhoused residents with approximately 1,300 beds around Long Beach hosted by the city and its various partners. The beds will be first come first serve and available daily until Mar.5.