• Matt Esnayra

Long Beach's homeless population skyrocketed to 62% since 2020

The homeless population in Long Beach skyrocketed to 62%, according to findings from the 2022 Homeless Point in Time Count.

Why it matters:

The results show the economic toll that the pandemic has had on Long Beach, as 3,296 people were counted as experiencing homelessness as of February 24, 2022. Nearly half, 47% of respondents, said this is their first time being homeless.

  • Long Beach’s last homeless count in 2020 found 2,034 people experiencing homelessness, which was an increase from the previous year.

By the numbers:

The most depressing statistical finding was that 69% are unsheltered and 1,009 respondents say they’re in some form of temporary housing, as per the survey.

  • Long Beach residents living in encampments or on the street grew by 22%, and those living in a vehicle jumped 380%.

  • 39% of respondents were experiencing chronic homelessness.

Demographics of homelessness in Long Beach:

Black residents, who only make up 12% of the City's population, according to the Census, represented a disproportionate percentage of Long Beach’s homeless population at 36%.

  • 71% of the homeless population was male, and the largest age group experiencing homelessness was between 18-54, with 30% of those surveyed being 55 and older.

  • There was no survey in 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic.

The survey showed that a large percentage of the homeless suffer from a mixture of past trauma, mental health issues, and physical abuse:

  • 24%, about 556, have a traumatic brain injury.

  • 23% have a developmental disability,519

  • About 1,214 homeless residents have mental illness issues, and 951 have a substance abuse disorder.

  • 36% have a physical disability, and 31% have a chronic medical condition.

What they're saying:

  • Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia: "The pandemic has made our local and statewide homelessness crisis even more challenging. There’s no bigger issue and we must continue helping as many people as possible and getting them into shelter and housing."

  • City Manager Tom Modica: "Despite the unprecedented hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic that have exacerbated the unhoused community, the City has continued to make sheltering, housing and offering resources to people experiencing homelessness a top priority."

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