A Strategic Master Plan for Unhoused Long Beach Residents
A Strategic Master Plan for Unhoused Long Beach Residents
Why this petition matters
Join efforts to advocate for a Strategic Master Plan for Long Beach Unhoused Residents that connects all efforts by Government Institutions, Community Groups, Non-Profit Organizations, Faith-based communities, and Unhoused Residents themselves Centrally.
Recommendations and siloed programs are not efficient nor strategic. Bringing all efforts together, identifying whats working and whats not, and creating a master plan with facility and housing infrastructure that includes focus on wellness in real wholistic rehabilitation with life purpose is what is needed.
Let's not continue the same broken system that thrives on human exploitation, it's not working for anyone - not the unhoused, not the housed, not case workers, not the government.
We need change; we need a strategic plan.
On September 7th, Project Dignity released a Press Release about the impacts of their advocacy with unhoused Long Beach residents. A month later, on October 4th 2022, the groups, who are a part of Project Dignity, presented to the Long Beach City Council, Mayor, and City Manager. They spoke about the positive impacts of their consistent weekly efforts to support and assist unhoused persons at MacArthur Park and the Anaheim Corridor in Long Beach through outreach and meeting people where they are.
The purpose of the presentation highlighted the collaborative actions that have changed lives at MacArthur Park and the Anaheim Corridor that could be replicated throughout the city. Project Dignity also asked for a Master Plan for Unhoused Long Beach Residents similar to the the effective plan in Houston, Texas based on collaboration between community organizations and government entities. The Houston Plan has housed 25,000+ people in their own home.
Project Dignity understands that their 'band-aid" actions look effective on a small scale, the need for larger, more sustainable solutions to break this cycle is imminent.
Without bigger, long term solutions focused on trauma support and recovery, the need for these kinds of efforts will only continue to grow, and energy and funds are wasted. In some instances for housing, there is a need for permanent, assisted board and care infrastructure for people who do not have the capacity for basic self care.
Project Dignity advocates for Long Beach to establish and implement An Unhoused Master Plan to be studied, developed, and implemented by the City of Long Beach.
Instead of continuing on a path of inhumanity, segregation, and no infrastructure for mental health care and housing-first plans, let's build a new system in a Master Plan for Unhoused Long Beach Residents.
Over the last few years, there have been recommendations from various city council members alongside organizations and government entities working in silos without any central navigation or plan.
While complaints have risen around the downtown resources provided on 3rd and Linden do not perceive the root of the issue nor a real solution, segregation cannot be repeated in history. The “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” and “tough love” philosophies of decades past are not working and have never worked. At the same time, providing supplies without a solution for decades does not work either.
A large share of the chronically homeless suffers from drug addiction and mental health problems. Unhoused neighbors range from young to old, across all genders and races who suffer from substance use disorders, severe mentally incapacitated, in-need of physical medical care—all are traumatized and have no place to go. Some commit crimes because there is no other way to survive. Some have mental breaks with no place to go and no care to manage mental disorders.
More non-religious treatment facilities and lower barriers for treatment are needed.
It is a new era, new systems and perceptions must be examined to move forward as a society. Let Long Beach be the leader of change. It is time that we take care of our own instead of sustaining an “us versus them” mentality. The stigmatic perceptions of drug use and mental illness is archaic.
An infrastructure of harm reduction-led trauma-healing centers and assisted living facilities needs to be developed. Not segregation, not unaffordable housing, and not old systems that do not work. Project Dignity is a bandaid where surgery and long-term treatment is needed.
From Stanford's Institute for EconomicPolicy Research (SIEPR) May 2022 Publication Homelessness in California: Causes and Policy Considerations
California’s homeless crisis is associated with high housing costs, inadequate shelter spaces, deinstitutionalization, and changes in the criminal justice system.
To improve housing affordability, California needs to streamline and accelerate housing production and reexamine the regulations that have hindered new housing development.
To reduce the unsheltered homeless population, more shelter capacity and increased investment in cost-effective housing are needed.
Project Dignity is a collaboration between AOC7, Peer Education Community Center, Beacon for Him, Care Closet LBC, and Long Beach East Stakes Church to bring dignity to neighbors who are experiencing homelessness and meet them where they are. Plus, community partners, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, 6th District Councilwoman Suely Saro, LB Green Room and Hot Java and various community groups including TCC Family Health and Long Beach Rescue Mission bring support, donations, and supplies. Project Dignity began Monday, February 14, 2022 as a way to build a sense of community between the neighborhood’s housed and unhoused community members in MacArthur Park in central Long Beach by sharing food, resources, and conversations.
Over the past 7 months, Project Dignity’s weekly efforts have become a reliant source of mutual aid, connections to city-led resources, system navigation, and neighbor-to-neighbor connections with community volunteers who also simply listen. The common thread of stories is unhealed trauma without resources or navigation of a broken system that cycles people through without any real outcomes or choice in treatments that may or may not work. Homelessness is traumatic within itself without the trauma of navigating a broken system without resources.
An unhoused man struggling with SUD (substance use disorder) and life-long trauma was hit by a car and taken to St. Mary’s. They treated his injuries with surgery, having to insert IM rods/nails, and he spent only a few days in care. He was released unable to walk in a wheelchair at MacArthur Park with nowhere to go or care for recovery and susceptible to more injury and infection on the streets.
Sometimes people with SUD (substance use disorder), unmanaged mental illness, and life-long trauma resist strangers and institutions because of past treatment with both causing more hurt and trauma than care. Sometimes it takes more than asking if someone wants to receive care. Sometimes it takes time, patience, and building trust to move to receive care. Most of the time even when people seek care, recovery, and treatment, the care is not received at institutions or facilities. This situation needs better outreach and better infrastructure to maintain the best care for everyone, not just those who have money. There is a difference between care received at a private facility than a public one, even though we are all human.
A woman and two men who have helped each other survive years on and off being unhoused began to volunteer at the park with Project Dignity. Having pride in their park and care for people in it, they jumped in to help their unhoused neighbors. Through outreach, they eventually all received jobs at the same security venue. One man was housed, and the couple stayed on and off with him or in their car.
Around the time the trio started working, the Encampment Resolution in the Anaheim Corridor came through to house 40 people for 6months in various hotels that have been converted to transitional housing. The couple, who were still without housing, were not part of the 40 people. They were told that they did not fit that particular program and there was nothing for them. Through Project Dignity advocacy, the couple was given a room in a transitional housing program.
Soon after, the trio were commuting to work in the couple’s car when they were hit by a truck. The car was totaled. The woman suffered a broken knee and one of the men suffered a broken ankle and femur. The other man, who was driving, suffered minor injuries. He was released and stayed daily with the woman and the other man at the hospital.
The woman with a broken knee and the man with the broken ankle and femur were released on the same day. Because the woman and man had recently been accepted into the program and given a room at a hotel, she was able to get a room on the bottom floor to accommodate her recovery. She is unable to walk without a walker and has a wheelchair while she recovers. They need temporary storage for their belongings that do not fit in the room that were stored in their car. They now have no car or income.
The man with the broken ankle and femur was dropped off alone in a wheelchair at the Multi-Service Center, where he waited for hours, then was told to leave and return the following morning. Luckily, he still has the temporary room he rents and a roommate was able to pick him up. He has no plan for recovery or follow up care. He is unable to walk. He now has no income while he recovers.
All three need help navigating a broken system of resources.
A woman who had been hit by a car without treatment was living at the park unhoused because she had nowhere to go. Through Project Dignity advocacy, she was seen by an outreach medical team who exacerbated her care and was able to get her into a transitional housing program with a hotel room.
Transitional Hotel stories:
• Most hotels are unclean, infested with bed bugs, roaches, and other bugs.
• Most hotels have ongoing criminal activity
• At risk for physical assault
• At risk for sexual assault
• At risk for substance use disorder
• Been in hotel for a long amount of time (longer than 6 months) with no help - no next steps (mental health care, physical care, SUD recovery, trauma-care, et cetera)
• “I feel safer on the streets than at the hotels” - unhoused person
• “I would rather live at the airport than the hotel. It’s safe and cleaner.” -a mother with 4 children