Long Beach City Strikes $198,000 Monthly Deal to Rent Hotel for Homeless

Long Beach City has reached an agreement to lease the 60-room Vagabond Inn in Downtown to provide interim shelter for unhoused individuals. The deal, which amounts to $198,000 per month, will be up for ratification by the City Council on Tuesday. The city plans to use $2.4 million in state grant funds to lease the entire three-story facility at Alamitos Avenue and Second Street for the next year.

Under the terms of the agreement, the city will pay $110 per room, per day, covering all utilities, parking, cleaning, and amenities. Additionally, $1.2 million of the grant will be allocated to assist residents in finding permanent housing.

“Our goal is to get as many people as possible connected and into permanent housing, as quickly as possible,” said Paul Duncan, director of the city’s Homeless Services Bureau. However, Duncan acknowledged the challenges posed by the housing market, noting that “the reality is we’ll probably have people staying [at the Vagabond] for close to a year.”

City data reveals that in the first four months of this year, nearly 1,100 individuals were placed in interim housing, but fewer than 300 transitioned to permanent housing. Last year, it took an average of 211 days for unhoused individuals to find a permanent home.

Historically, Long Beach has utilized local motels to house the homeless, typically for short durations. However, the pandemic led to extended stays funded by additional resources. Previous arrangements with hotels like the Coast and Colonial motels faced issues with unsanitary conditions and safety concerns. The city no longer contracts with the Colonial, with Los Angeles County now managing that lease to house people from Signal Hill and Long Beach. The city still uses the Coast, the Pine Ave Inn, and the Stallion Inn Motel in North Long Beach, housing about 30 individuals with motel vouchers.

Other interim shelters in the city are facing capacity challenges. The 125-bed Atlantic Farms Bridge, the city’s largest shelter, has occasionally exceeded full capacity. Meanwhile, the opening of the 78-room Luxury Inn, being converted for interim housing, has been delayed to early next year. Construction is underway for a 12-bed Youth Navigation Center at 1718 Hayes Ave., and the design phase has begun for a new 85-bed shelter at 702 W. Anaheim, a property purchased from the Long Beach Rescue Mission last year. Plans for a 33-home “tiny home village” are currently on hold, with an update expected in the coming weeks.

The lease for the Vagabond Inn will run from June 1, 2024, to May 31, 2025, with the possibility of extension beyond the initial term.