LONG BEACH, Calif. — In its continuing efforts to combat homelessness, the city of Long Beach announced a new text line to connect unhoused individuals with services. The Long Beach Homelessness Text Alert program provides a variety of updates, including information about city-run programs such as the mobile access center street outreach team schedule and alerts about dangerous or inclement weather.

By texting the word “home” to 99411, individuals can also learn how to sign up for many of the new services the city has launched following its emergency declaration on homelessness earlier this year. Those include a new safe parking program that currently has 50 spaces for people who are living in their cars to sleep and receive services, emergency warming centers and a new RV sanitation and water filling site that will open next week.

Since declaring a homelessness emergency in January, the city has established four main goals in tackling the crisis: increasing access to services, increasing interim and long-term access to housing, building capacity to address the homelessness crisis and engaging community and data planning. Each goal is separated into immediate and longer-term timelines.

In the past few months, the city has interacted with 552 unhoused individuals through its new mobile access center vehicles, which go into the community to connect with people instead of requiring them to go to the city’s multi-service center. Long Beach has also purchased four hotels to help house homeless individuals and another 35 tiny homes that it plans to open before the end of the year.

“This is a big challenge,” Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson said Thursday during his weekly homelessness update. “We didn’t get into this place overnight. By having a strategy, it allows our community to understand why it’s important to make these investments and understand some of the activities that they’re seeing play out.” 

Last year’s point-in-time count identified 3,296 people who were experiencing homelessness in Long Beach, which has a population of 456,000.