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City lends $6.1 million to developers for 2 affordable housing projects • Long Beach Business Journal

As the city works to bolster its efforts to combat homelessness in Long Beach, it has awarded two affordable housing developers more than $6 million in loans to build nearly 200 units in Downtown and South Wrigley.

Long Beach Community Investment Company, the city’s nonprofit arm dedicated to supporting affordable housing development, awarded Holos Communities and Jamboree Housing Corp. $4 million and $2.1 million, respectively, Wednesday, according to an announcement posted on Friday.

“The city is fortunate to have urgently needed financial resources and the means available to share them with affordable housing developers,” Director of Development Services Christopher Koontz said in a statement.

Development Services facilitated federal funding for Holos through the HOME Investment Partnership Program. The North Hollywood-based nonprofit developer is set to build 140 one-bedroom rental units at 521 and 527 E. Fourth St., a vacant building and a fenced-in parking lot.

The project will consist of two buildings, with 75% of the units reserved for the homeless.

A separate loan using federal grant funds will allow Irvine-based Jamboree to purchase and develop the vacant property at 101 E. Pacific Coast Highway. The 52 units will be reserved for people at risk of homelessness.

Both developments are expected to start in the summer of 2024.

“LBCIC continues to enthusiastically invest in opportunities like these that have the ability to provide housing for Long Beach residents,” LBCIC President Mary Castro said in a statement. “These developers are valued partners – they truly exemplify how the City remains committed to bringing people and communities together.”

The number of homeless people living on the streets in Long Beach has skyrocketed in recent years, rising 62% between 2020 and 2022, according to city data. The increase in homelessness has been a concern for some residents and businesses, as well as city agencies. Restaurants have threatened to close, and the city’s main library branch closed temporarily due to related security concerns.

Earlier this month, following community calls for more aggressive action, the Long Beach City Council declared a state of emergency for the homeless during its January 10 meeting. The declaration eliminates some red tape, allowing staff to address the issue more quickly.

Later that day, during his first State of the City address, Mayor Rex Richardson vowed to make homelessness a major focus of his office. Richardson announced the Mayor’s Fund to End Homelessness, which will award small grants to Long Beach organizations to provide services such as relocation assistance, shelter, transportation, infrastructure, equipment replacement and relocation assistance.

The affordability of housing in Long Beach and throughout California is a major factor fueling the state’s homelessness crisis. Units designated as affordable are subsidized with government funds and are required by law to keep rents low, generally between 30% and 60% of area median income, or no more than 30% of the resident’s income.

“This key funding and action reflects our sense of urgency to improve the city’s housing stock and support working families who need it most,” Richardson said in a statement. “We are grateful to The LBCIC and these development partners who, together, are helping to ensure that Long Beach has quality, safe affordable housing that meets the needs of our community.”

Long Beach City Council declares state of emergency over homelessness

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