Bits 'n' Pieces

Acceptable Recycling Materials List Modified

The City of Long Beach has announced changes to the materials eligible for collection as part of the residential and commercial recycling program. Some plastics and cartons are no longer accepted as recyclable materials. These updates are necessary to reduce contamination of recyclable materials in a changing recycling market.

Due to global changes in the recycling processing industry, namely in response to China’s implementation of its National Sword Policy, the demand for some previously recyclable materials has dramatically decreased.

The Public Works Department, along with its recycling partners, Potential Industries and Waste Management, conducted a thorough evaluation to determine the most efficient and sustainable way to adapt to these market changes. That evaluation resulted in the modification of collected recyclable materials to reduce contaminants, facilitate recovery of all eligible recyclable goods and reduce processing costs.

Continued collection of materials no longer eligible for recycling within the global marketplace may lead to contamination of recyclables still in demand. These changes will help Long Beach residents ensure that materials put in recycling containers can actually be recycled and reused.

The city will no longer accept:

Plastic: PVC 3 – Polyvinyl Chloride, including soft and flexible packaging such as plastic food wrapping, children’s toys and teething rings.

Plastic: LDPE 4 – Low-Density Polyethylene, including plastic bags, produce bags, shrink wrap, dry cleaner garment bags, squeezable bottles and plastic bags that package bread.

Plastic: PS 6 – Polystyrene, including foam or rigid plastic #6 cups, plates, take-out ‘clamshell’ food containers, egg cartons, cutlery/utensils, form packaging and packaging peanuts.

Plastic: Other 7 – Catch-all for polycarbonate (PC) and other plastics including compostable plastics and any other type of plastic material that is not a 1-6 type of plastic.

Cartons, including all refrigerated, shelf-stable, aseptic packaging boxes and cartons such as juice boxes and cartons, dairy and non-dairy boxes and cartons, wine boxes and egg substitute cartons.

Household hazardous waste materials, such as paint, batteries and motor oil, will still not be accepted in recycling carts and should be disposed of for free at EDCO Recycling and Transfer Environmental Center, located at 2755 California Avenue in Signal Hill, on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Long Beach refuse customers can schedule bulky or large item collection by visiting: longbeach.gov/lbrecycles/.

Open Streets Extended

The Long Beach Open Streets Initiative continues to provide COVID-19 support for local businesses. Beginning Sept. 25, Pine Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets was closed to vehicular traffic to accommodate a second Pine Avenue Open Streets location. The closure will provide outdoor space for dining and other approved services. This Open Streets closure is in addition to the current closure on Pine Avenue, between 1st and 3rd Streets.

In addition to the Pine Avenue closures, more than 100 parklet locations have been installed throughout the city, providing businesses with an outdoor space to provide physically distanced services.

While vehicular traffic on Pine Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets will be prohibited, 4th Street and 5th Street both will remain open to accommodate through traffic. Marked loading and delivery zones have been established throughout the area to accommodate curb side pick-up.

Schools Win National Blue Ribbon Award

The Long Beach Unified School District’s Tincher Preparatory Academy and Charles Kettering Elementary School are among 367 schools named National Blue Ribbon Schools recently by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

The U.S. Department of Education’s announcement notes that “the coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.”

“Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” Secretary DeVos said. “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.”

The award is the first National Blue Ribbon honor for Tincher at 1701 Petaluma Avenue and Kettering at 550 Silvera Avenue. The Education Department plans to hold a virtual recognition ceremony on Nov. 12 and 13.

New Digital Hotline

The city’s Technology and Innovation Department (TI) is launching a new Digital Inclusion Resources Hotline to help connect the community with a variety of resources and services, including computers, low-cost internet services and more.

The hotline, (562) 570-7000, will be available on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning through Dec. 18. Questions related to digital resources may also be sent via email, in any language, to digitalinclusion@longbeach.gov.

A team of city staff, referred to as digital inclusion navigators, will help Long Beach residents find information about local low-cost internet service offers, computers and free digital literacy training classes. Assistance and language interpretation services will be available for callers in Spanish through the digital inclusion navigators. Additional interpretation services in Spanish and Khmer through third-party organizations are forthcoming.

For more information go to longbeach.gov/ti.

LBCC Named Best Hispanic-Serving College

Excelencia in Education, a policy research institution out of Washington DC, awarded Long Beach City College (LBCC) with the Seal of Excelencia for 2020. With this recognition, LBCC becomes part of the second cohort in the country comprised of 14 elite colleges and universities to receive the independent national certification for institutions intentionally serving Latino students.

This year, five higher education institutions were awarded the Seal of Excelencia. LBCC was the only community college to receive the Seal of Excelencia in 2020 and currently the only California Community College to receive the seal so far.

Launched in 2004, Excelencia in Education addresses the need for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leadership within the United States. The Latina-led organization has grown to become an authority in this field with a reputation as a national transformative leader and innovator in higher education by informing, organizing and compelling action. The Seal of Excelencia’s framework is based around data, practice and leadership. This includes enrollment, retention, transfer rate, financial support, representation of Latinos on staff and degree completion for Latino students.

LBCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution with students who identify as Latinx representing more than 58 percent of LBCC’s student population. In late 2019, LBCC received a $3 million title V grant that created the DESTINO program (Developing Engaging STEM Through Innovative New Opportunities). The DESTINO program aims to improve student success and equitable student outcomes for Latinx and low-income students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields.

City Furloughs

As part of the city’s multi-step approach to resolving its $30 million shortfall in Fiscal Year 2021, the majority of City of Long Beach employees will be furloughed for 26 days from October 2020 through September 2021. This action will save $11 million in the General Fund and provide $30 million in savings for all funds.

The furloughs were negotiated with the city’s various employee associations through multi-year agreements as a way to generate cost savings, avoid permanent service reductions to the public and prevent additional layoffs.

Wherever possible, schedules were modified to keep critical services open to the community. Emergency public response such as police, fire, animal care and public works and utility emergency response remain unaffected by furloughs.

The city encourages all residents to continue to use city resources that are available online at www.longbeach.gov during furlough days. City Hall closed public access on March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will remain closed until further notice. However, city services are available by phone or online during regular business hours.

Bridge Housing

The City of Long Beach unveiled the new Atlantic Farms Bridge Housing Community (ABC). The village-style development, located at 6841-6845 Atlantic Ave. in North Long Beach, will help address a critical gap in the city’s continuum of care and offer a safe place and supportive resources for individuals experiencing homelessness.

The bridge housing model is designed to match people to housing options as they become available, with supportive services to help individuals move into permanent housing as quickly as possible.

The 2.28-acre community consists of modular-style dormitories for adults with a total capacity of 125. In adherence with COVID-19 safety and physical distancing guidelines, the site’s capacity has temporarily been reduced to 100 adults.

These efforts build on the city’s Everyone Home Long Beach Plan to address homelessness in the city and the Mayor’s Fund to End Homelessness, which was reinvigorated last year to fund service gaps for people experiencing homelessness such as returning people to their families. It is anticipated that the site will be at full capacity by the end of 2020.

Over the past five years, Long Beach has housed more than 5,000 individuals experiencing homelessness, with an average of 1,000 individuals annually.

For information on the city’s homeless services, visit longbeach.gov/health. If you or someone you know is currently experiencing homelessness, please contact the Multi-Service Center at (562) 570-4500.

Project Homekey Funding

The City of Long Beach has been awarded nearly $16.7 million funding for Project Homekey, California’s $600 million program to purchase and rehabilitate housing – including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings and other properties – and convert them into permanent, long-term housing for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

Project Homekey will help serve adults experiencing homelessness as they prepare for permanent housing solutions. The program will focus primarily on people experiencing homelessness with area median incomes at or below 30% and who are prioritized for housing through the city’s Coordinated Entry System.

The city plans to convert an existing hotel into interim housing units, with a local operator selected by the city to help manage on-site operations. The city is currently in negotiations to acquire a site and anticipates it will become operational as interim housing by mid-February 2021.

Once negotiations are complete, the selected site will be presented to the City Council in a public meeting for approval. The facility will operate as interim housing for the foreseeable future while the city identifies additional funds for full conversion to permanent supportive housing.

The goal of the city’s interim housing program is to move people into permanent housing as quickly as it becomes available.

Current interim housing options in Long Beach are often available only to veterans, families and those experiencing domestic violence. This project will fill a crucial gap by offering more pathways to permanent housing.

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