Bits 'n' Pieces

Recovery Act Adopted

The Long Beach City Council has adopted the Long Beach Recovery Act to fund economic, public health and fiscal initiatives for Long Beach residents, business owners and workers critically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The adopted $234 million plan includes additional funding provided by the American Rescue Act, including $15 million for the Long Beach Airport and $12.35 million for additional programs for businesses and residents.

The final plan includes recommendations from Mayor Garcia and adopted by the City Council, for how the additional funds will be utilized to further support initiatives under the focus areas, including:

Economic Recovery

  • $2 million for a Micro and Public Transit Pilot Program to support economic recovery.
  • $2 million for Direct Income Pilot Programs to help our community meet basic needs and increase the potential for economic stability and advancement.
  • An additional $1.25 million for Economic Empowerment Zones.
  • An additional $1 million for Childcare and Early Childhood Education.

Healthy and Safe Community

  • $5 million for Housing Support, including: $3 million for down payment assistance for first-time home buyers, $1 million for rental housing navigation and $1 million to start a public land trust.
  • $500,000 in additional funding for Language Access translation.
  • $300,000 to waive Library Fees for a year.
  • $300,000 in additional support for the Long Beach Justice Fund.

The adopted plan also includes funded allotments, provided from the federal, state and county levels, to allow for the implementation of the following key initiatives:

Economic Recovery ($51 million), including COVID-19 protection for businesses and nonprofits; direct funding relief for businesses critically-impacted by the pandemic; funding to address historic economic inequities exacerbated by the pandemic; and funding to keep commercial corridors clean and to reduce illegal dumping.

Healthy and Safe Community ($72.8 million), including programs to support public health; ongoing support for basic needs such as food security, housing and case management for older adults; ongoing support for people experiencing homelessness; programs focusing on physical and mental health equity and other social services; and tenant assistance through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Securing Our City’s Future ($83.2 million), including funding to replenish city reserves to maintain structural balance in the city’s budget; funding to eliminate city furloughs to allow the restoration of critical city services; and funding to balance the 2022 city budget to maintain city services for residents and businesses.

Addressing new and historic inequities was critical to the development of the Long Beach Recovery Act. As a result, the plan emphasizes high-risk populations and the hardest-hit business sectors and workers and incorporates key goals and objectives from the city’s Economic Development Blueprint, Everyone In, Digital Inclusion Roadmap and the Framework for Reconciliation to ensure a racially equitable economic recovery.

Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia Clinic Opens

MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach launched a Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD) Clinic – one of only four in the Western U.S. and the only one in Southern California. Primary ciliary dyskinesia is a rare, inherited, genetic disorder that is caused by abnormal cilia that don’t move.

Cilia are tiny, hair like structures on the cells in the body. Without properly functioning cilia, the mechanisms of the lungs in which mucus and potentially harmful foreign substances are normally removed don’t function properly. This results in germ-filled mucus staying in the ears, nose, sinuses and airways, causing inflammation and repeated infections that may affect other organs.

Only a limited number of health centers in the U.S. have extensive experience in the diagnosis and management of PCD. Because of this, Miller Children’s & Women’s treats patients from California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico.

PCD is best managed by a multi-specialty care team and at Miller Children’s & Women’s PCD Clinic, a pediatric pulmonologist and pediatric otolaryngologist (ENT) partner in the diagnosis and treatment. Other clinical team members are available to support all aspects, both physical and emotional, of this rare disease including a medical geneticist, respiratory care practitioner, registered dietitian, social worker and more.

Airport Unveils Pandemic-Inspired Art Exhibit

A new pandemic-themed art exhibit has been unveiled at Long Beach Airport (LGB). The exhibition by local women artists, commissioned by a partnership between the airport and the Arts Council for Long Beach (ARTSLB), reflects uplifting and hopeful messages related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Titled “We Got This: Art in the Time of the Pandemic,” 20 pieces were chosen for display, with artists receiving a $500 honorarium for each piece selected by a panel consisting of representatives from LGB and ARTSLB. The selected works express hope, shared community, respect for frontline workers and an acknowledgement of the challenges ahead. The exhibit title comes from a piece submitted by the artist known as Ms. Yellow (Nuria Ortiz) that explores physical and emotional distance during the pandemic.

The artwork was printed and installed on large construction barriers in public, highly trafficked areas of the airport and will stay up for at least six months.

The focus on artists who are women is part of ARTSLB’S community work with LB Suffrage 100 in commemorating the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Funding for the project was provided by the airport’s allocation of the city’s percent for the Arts Program, which sets aside one percent of capital construction funds for the arts. In coordination with ARTSLB’s Keep Arts Working program, this exhibition highlights COVID-19’s impact on the arts community.

Interim Housing Site Opens

The City of Long Beach has begun to operate 102-rooms of interim housing to provide temporary housing for people working to transition to permanent housing solutions. The site is converted from a former Best Western hotel in the 1700 block of Long Beach Boulevard and was made possible through the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) Homekey Program.

The Long Beach City Council awarded a contract to The Illumination Foundation, of Orange, to provide site operations and interim housing services at the site, which will serve adults experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness, with at least one of the following criteria:

  • Are 65 years of age or older.
  • Have an underlying health condition that puts them in a high-risk category for complications from COVID-19.
  • Are engaged with services and are in the process of being referred to a housing resource.
  •  Services available to clients either onsite or through referral will include:
  • Daily meals
  • Transportation to essential appointments
  • Accommodation for service/emotional support animals
  • Mental and Physical Health services
  • Client-centered case management
  • Individual stability plans
  • Employment development
  • Domestic violence programs
  • Stress/anger management
  • Health education and wellness
  • Substance use disorder services

Each room will have furniture and linens provided and a private bathroom. Staff and security will be on-site 24/7.

Project Homekey is one of a series of new services for people experiencing homelessness. Prior to the opening of this Project Homekey site, the city worked to contain the spread of COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness by providing non-congregate sheltering among persons at high risk for severe health consequences from COVID-19 through the availability of 133 rooms serving singles or couples experiencing homelessness in its Project Roomkey site.

Solution to Child Hunger

Help Me Help You (HMHY) has launched the Nutrition Knights program to help combat growing cases of child hunger by providing and encouraging access to free healthy groceries in three Long Beach school locations. With the fallout from the COVID pandemic, school closures and partial closures; the ability to access food has dramatically decreased for many children as well as their families.

Food insecurity is growing rapidly among children in the U.S. Prior to the COVID pandemic one in seven children were already living in households suffering from food insecurity and today numbers are estimated to have increased to one in four.

COVID related school closures and the increase in the “stay safe and stay home” mandated option for home-schooling, has meant that many children who were receiving free school lunches through the State Food Program cannot access these meals. Although the Los Angeles Unified School District has set up “Grab-and-Go” sites during school closures, there are only roughly 64 sites for 1,000 schools.

With the aim to generate awareness and entice the use of school food pantries, HMHY created Nutrition Knights. The program aims to make school food pantries user-friendly while appealing to children and their parents with a knight in shining armor mascot, advocating nutritious food choices and a tagline of “Groceries to Save The Day.” HMHY Nutrition Knights school food pantries operate twice a week between Cesar Chavez, Stevenson and Oropeza Elementary schools.

For information on Nutrition Knights school food pantries and community food pantry locations visit helpmehelpu.org/food-pantry. To support these services and help feed children in Long Beach, make a donation at helpmehelpu.org/donate-now. If you would like a food pantry at your child’s school or if you think the school may be interested in hosting a school food pantry, contact Zina Washington at (562) 612-5001.

COVID-19 Testing Now Available at LGB

Long Beach Airport (LGB) recently introduced a new partner, CityHealth Urgent Care, to offer drive-through COVID-19 tests for as low as $20, exclusively for ticketed LGB travelers and employees.

LGB added three additional daily nonstop flights to Hawaii last week, one to Maui with Hawaiian Airlines (complementing its existing service to Honolulu) and one each to Honolulu and Maui on Southwest Airlines. The State of Hawaii currently exempts visitors and returning residents from quarantine if they obtain a negative pre-travel COVID-19 test result from an approved testing partner no more than 72 hours before their scheduled departure time.

CityHealth, in collaboration with Southwest Airlines, joins Worksite Labs, which has provided testing for Hawaiian Airlines passengers at LGB since January. Both providers are approved testing partners.

CityHealth offers guaranteed test results within 72 hours, with a $20 administration fee. LGB encourages Hawaii-bound travelers to get tested two to three days prior to departure.

Testing locations are located near the Airport’s main entrance at 4100 Donald Douglas Drive, across from the cell phone parking lot. CityHealth, available to any ticketed LGB passenger, is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., by appointment only. Worksite Labs, exclusively for Hawaiian Airlines passengers, is open daily from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m., by appointment only.

Church Unveils New Logo and Website

Grace First Presbyterian Church now has a new logo and website that reflect diversity, as well as better showcasing the broad variety of activities and projects that the church is involved with.

The new church website has many more pages, showcasing the many activities and projects the congregation are involved with in the community. There are now pages talking about the church’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity, helping the homeless and disadvantaged through Christian Outreach in Action, the Water Project and many others. Community wide events are featured, such as the popular Concert Series, Music at the Point and the popular Lunch and Learn educational series that is open to the whole community.

Perhaps the most significant addition is a section of pages highlighting the diversity of the congregation. There are now pages for the Megumi Kai fellowship group, the annual Multicultural Day, the church’s Taiko drumming group and the history of the Kobata Japanese Garden.

Martin Luther King famously said that “the most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o’clock on Sunday morning.” Grace First Presbyterian Church has been working to change that since 2003. Now they have a website and new logo that reflects the mission of the church.

Augmented Reality Challenge for Submissions

The City of Long Beach is inviting members of the developer community to apply for the Long Beach Augmented Reality (AR) Challenge. AR is an interactive experience, provided through a set of technologies, that superimposes digital data and images atop a real-world environment.

The Long Beach AR challenge will invite participants to imagine and develop AR applications that re-activate Downtown Long Beach and celebrate its historic past, diverse present and limitless future.

The city is calling on innovators, thinkers, entrepreneurs, start-ups and solution makers of all skill levels to rise to the AR Challenge. Individuals and teams that are selected will choose a physical space in Downtown Long Beach for their immersive AR app, receive technical mentorship support and compete for a share of $14,000 in total prize money in an interactive exhibition event in August 2021.

In alignment with the recently launched Long Beach Accelerator and Smart City Initiative, the AR Challenge supports the city’s efforts to encourage new investments and partnerships in the local technology ecosystem. Challenge participants will have the opportunity to pilot a sustainable business model using Facebook’s Spark AR platform, deploy a proof of concept in Downtown Long Beach and receive technical feedback from AR experts.

For more information, or to apply for the Challenge, visit http://bit.ly/LBARChallengeInfo. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through May 7, 2021.

Saints Run 5K

St. Anthony High School’s 12th Annual SAINTS RUN 5K definitely looked different this year. Celebrating the school’s 100th anniversary, current families, alumni and faculty and staff “came together,” walking garbed in Centennial T-shirts and face masks, over the course of three days, in their own communities.

On Friday, March 5, the weekend began with a Kick-Off video posted on social media, uniting the community and encouraging participation. Throughout the weekend, the SAINTS community sent in pictures and videos or tagged the school using our hashtag #longbeachsaints5k on social media. Running, walking, biking, etc., the community participated anytime and anywhere that weekend, until the virtual event ended on Sunday, March 6. A Wrap-Up video was shared on social media, Monday, March 7, celebrating the completion of race weekend.

The SAINTS RUN 5K is one of St. Anthony High School’s major fundraisers, growing annually. Proceeds from the run, estimated over $80,000 this year, support the school’s Sponsor-A-Saint Program which provides over $1.3 million in tuition assistance annually to underserved, low income families in the Long Beach area who would not otherwise be able to afford a Catholic education.

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