Long Beach, CA – The City of Long Beach is taking new measures to protect people experiencing homelessness, and those who provide services to them, from the ongoing spread of COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus disease.
“Protecting and supporting people experiencing homelessness is critical as they are some of the most vulnerable in our community,” Mayor Robert Garcia. “Our Homeless Services team is working hard to ensure we continue to deliver the best care and services possible during this public health emergency.”
Although the City of Long Beach has temporarily closed some public facilities, all City facilities and services for people experiencing homelessness, including the Winter Shelter, the Multi-Service Center and Safe Parking Program, remain open. UPDATED: 3/18/20: The Multi-Service Center is now also open all day, without closing for an hour at lunch, to better serve the unsheltered residents of Long Beach.
The Homeless Services team, a division of the Health and Human Services Department, has instituted the following new measures to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19:
- Installing soap dispensers, handwashing stations or hand sanitizer stations at strategic locations throughout the city, including public restrooms.
- Outreach by City teams to provide direct, in-person services and educate the community about how to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if one begins experiencing those symptoms.
- New protocols by the Winter Shelter and Multi-Service Center, including disinfecting frequently touched objects, providing masks to clients who are coughing, installing hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations to ensure good hygiene and posting educational signage in multiple languages. Shower services remain available with social distancing protocols in place.
- Homeless Services will distribute sanitation kits to people experiencing homelessness.
- Identifying isolation rooms to house people experiencing homelessness who exhibit symptoms. The City will pay for the cost of quarantine, should the need arise.
- Instituting precautions for all employees engaged in providing in-person services to people experiencing homelessness, including observing social distancing, wearing masks and stepping up sanitation procedures before and after each interaction.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has compounded what was already a dire situation for persons experiencing homelessness,” said Deputy City Manager Teresa Chandler. “Although we are not aware of any COVID-19 cases among persons experiencing homelessness, we stand ready to respond if such a case presents itself to any of our facilities or if we become aware of that situation in an encampment.”