Service Provider Backs Out of Efforts to Protect Neighborhood
Protracted Battle to Move Homeless Center May Be Over
Behind-the-scenes efforts, which may have moved a mentally ill homeless facility away from eastside neighborhoods, have been halted due to a service provider’s unwillingness to move forward.
For the last several years, the Long Beach City Council has been debating a proposal to open a treatment center for the mentally ill homeless adjacent to eastside neighborhoods. Councilmember Patrick O'Donnell has been a strong opponent of the project, believing that placing it near a residential neighborhood was "not a good fit," in his words. The proposal resulted from the City's planned acquisition of the nearby Schroeder Hall Army Facility and a correlating requirement that the City provide a homeless accommodation as an in-lieu payment for the Army property. The Council voted, with O’Donnell dissenting, to move forward with the process of siting a facility on City land near the Stearns Park area. Behind the scenes discussions had taken place in which the service provider, Mental Health America (MHA) would receive cash in lieu of the property. The City Council has been apprised that the discussions have been brought to a halt by the service provider, effectively ending efforts to place the facility elsewhere.
In response to MHA’s recent actions, O’Donnell has released the following statement:
"The proposed location is not fair to the nearby residents and not fair to the homeless. We all have a duty to help our fellow man, but this proposal was not thought out from the start. I am very disappointed that efforts to move this facility away from people’s homes has not been successful. The service provider has changed their minds about protecting our community.”