LB Homeless Count Shows Roughly 0.4% of LB's Total Population Are Homeless, Up 2% From Two Years Ago, About A Third Are "Chronically Homeless" And 16% Are Veterans (Despite Garcia Pledge to End LB Veterans Homelessness By End Of 2015) is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(June 4, 2019, 5:00 p.m.) -- LB's 2019 point-in-time homeless count shows that roughly 0.4% of LB's total population are homeless, up 2% from two years ago. The data show show that about a third of LB's homeless are "chronically homeless."

Despite a May 2015 pledge by Mayor Garcia ("as one of my first acts as Mayor") to join in then-President Obama's call on cities to house every homeless veteran before the close of 2015, in January 2019 the City of LB counted 304 homeless veterans, 70% of whom are unsheltered.

In a detailed June 3 memo to the Mayor and City Council (linked here and a June 4 press release, the City said its homeless count conducted in the early morning hours of January 24, 2019 found 1,894 "persons experiencing homelessness," an increase of 31 persons,.up 2% from 1,863 in 2017. It attributed the 2% increase "to those living on the streets" (exclusively adults) and said more than 2,150 people "have been permanently housed since 2017."

Diving deeper into details:

67% of LB's total homeless were "unsheltered" (n=1,275.)

61 families accounted for 194 homeless persons.

632 of LB's homeless are "chronically homeless" (a decrease in that population of 8% since 2017.) "Chronically homeless" is defined as "an individual or a family with a head of household with a disabling condition who (1) has been continuously homeless for 1 year or more and/or (2) has experienced at least four separate episodes of homelessness in the past three years, where the combined episodes total a length of 12 months or more." Of those "chronically homeless," LB's homeless count found 88% were unsheltered.

[Scroll down for further.]

The survey included questions related to physical and mental health conditions (self-reported in a multiple response questions, so numbers don't total 100%.) 34% reported a "serious mental illness." 24% reported a "substance abuse disorder." 16% reported they were a "survivor of domestic violence." And 3% reported AIDS/HIV.

55% were White. 35% were Black/African-American.

69% were male. 31% were female.



The map below shows the dispersal of homeless within the City of Long Beach.

Source: City Mgr. memo to Mayor/Council, June 3, 2019

The City's release said that 52% of those surveyed in 2019 reported being homeless for the first time, compared to 43% in 2017. independently calculated the percentage of 2019 total counted homeless as a percentage of the City of LB's population (source: latest update May 1, 2019, CA Dept. of Finance Report E-1) which put LB's Jan. 1, 2019 poulation at 475,013. Our math: 1894/475,013 = 003987 or 0.3987% (roughly 0.4%) [Caveat: Our percentage calculation is imprecise; the CA Dept. of Finance tells that LB's total population includes homeless persons in shelters only if they were included in the City's 2010 City's 2010 census figure, a matter we don't know and is nearly a decade old.]



Regarding homeless veterans, LB's Dir. of Health and Human Services Kelly Colopy said in May 2015 that Long Beach had reduced homeless veterans by 70% from 309 in 2011 to 94 in May 2015. The release stated: "Garcia pledged unequivocally: 'We will end veteran homelessness in Long Beach this year.'" In January 2019, 16% of the City's homeless population are veterans.

The City conducted its 2019 homeless Count in the early morning hours of Jan 24 with the help of 250 volunteers. In terms of methodology, management's memo states:

[City management June 3, 2019 memo to Council]

The 2019 Count was conducted in the early hours of January 24, 2019, with the help of 250 volunteers consisting of community-based providers, members of the public, and City staff. Teams led by experienced guides fanned out on foot and by car conducting surveys of people experiencing homelessness throughout Long Beach. The number of volunteers participating is critical to ensuring that map segments have comprehensive coverage.

This year, all volunteers were required to attend an orientation session that provided technical training for data collection and engagement techniques during the survey process. Training is a priority to ensure consistent data collection throughout all maps, ensure safety practices in the field, and to provide support to trained and experienced map leads. A key focus of the Count process is to ensure the comprehensive coverage of the 52-square miles of Long Beach. This year, over 20 first responders (police and fire) participated in the Count. These teams have specific expertise and training working in the field, which is critical to identifying known areas of congregation to be covered by map teams on the day of the Count. Outreach teams canvassed the city in the days leading up to the Count to validate the accuracy of Hot Spot Guides, which illustrate well-known areas of congregation.

This year, teams were deployed an hour earlier (5 a.m.) than in prior Counts to allow them to arrive at their designated map areas and engage individuals sleeping on the streets. Teams deployed to the field are provided with a 22-question survey that collects demographic information, subpopulation information, length and circumstances of homeless experience, and previous engagement in services. No identifying information is collected during the survey process; rather, key demographic information is used to create a unique identifier. This unique identifier is used to de-duplicate survey respondents that may have been surveyed in other locations during the count process, such as shelters, service sites, and food programs. All responses collected are based on a self-report by survey respondents.


The City of LB has been conducting "point in time" homeless counts every two years, but the City's release indicates that the City will now conduct homeless counts every year beginning in 2020, attributing this to the "statewide homeless crisis.".

Quoted in the release, Mayor Robert Garcia says the data show LB "continues to make progress in housing people in need, buyt we must do more to get folks into permanent housing and to protectvulnerable populations."



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