Hello Long Beach! Here’s some of the latest local news to start the week of February 20, 2023.
Long Beach will build tiny units for people experiencing homelessness
The Long Beach City Council has approved the manufacturing of 30-35 shelter units to create housing for people experiencing homelessness. These small 100-square-foot homes will be located at the city’s Multi Service Center at 1301 W. 12th St. and will contain beds, restrooms, showers, HVAC, and storage. The program will also provide three meals daily to residents of these units. The city council has contracted the Los-Angeles based firm, Connect Homes, to design and install these tiny homes, although no set date has been made for the project’s estimated completion. Operating costs for utilities, maintenance, food, and staffing are set to run the city at approximately $931,000 annually. The new housing program aims to ultimately connect individuals living in these units to a more permanent housing opportunity. Learn more here.
First-time homebuyer assistance program application opens March 15
The application process for the First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program will open on March 15, 2023. Approximately 100 eligible families will receive $20,000 in down payment and closing costs assistance through this program. Mayor Rex Richardson, who himself has benefited from a down payment assistance program, expresses that restoring this program is imperative at a time when the price to buy a home is at an all-time high. The city is hosting information sessions throughout the month of February to inform the public about the program and to help individuals see if they qualify. The next sessions will be held Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library and Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Mark Twain Neighborhood Library. Interested applicants are encouraged to complete a self-screening form to ensure that they are eligible, the form can be found here. Full eligibility requirements and guidelines are listed on the Program website.
Qualified households can receive up $100 toward their gas bill
Long Beach Utilities will now provide payment assistance to help combat the spike in gas prices that Long Beach residents are experiencing. After gas prices rose by almost 500%, Long Beach City Council approved a relief plan where residents can apply to receive $100 towards their gas bill. The $575,00 gas bill assistance program will be available on a first come first serve basis to up to 5,750 households. Those who are interested in applying for the program can find more information here. All households will automatically receive a $45 bill credit towards their next gas bill as a part of the new relief program as well with no application needed.
Cannabis Equity Program aims to help impacted individuals join the industry
The Cannabis Equity Program in Long Beach is hosting an information session Wednesday, February 22 at 10 a.m. to assist individuals who have been impacted by the prior criminalization of marijuana to get jobs in the industry. The program wishes to address the impact on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and low-income communities that have been disproportionately affected by the criminalization of marijuana, including incarceration, disqualification from employment, and exclusion from public benefits. The Cannabis Equity Program provides resources for grants, fee waivers, tax deferrals, and assistance to open an Equity Business in the field. For more information or to register for the session, click here.
LBCC will now offer a Bonsai tree workshop for elderly students
Long Beach City College (LBCC) will now offer an all-inclusive in-person Bonsai Workshop to senior citizens led by horticulture professor Jorge Ochoa at their Pacific Coast Campus (PCC). Students will learn to prune, shape, and train five different Bonsai trees over the course of five weeks. At the end of the five weeks, the class will have an opportunity to showcase their Bonsai tree at a Bonsai show on April 14 from 11 p.m. to 1 p.m. Classes will take place once a week every Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. and start Mar. 2. The class costs $65 and is limited to 15 students. Some spots are still available, those interested in joining the class can sign up through the Lifetime Learning Center at LBCC.