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Long Beach Residents Protest Proposed Homeless Shelter at Community Gym

Some neighbors in Long Beach want the city to stop plans for a homeless shelter at their community gym, but the city says it is moving forward.

Residents held a protest last weekend and they say they will do it again if the gym opens as a shelter in March. The city has already fenced off the area and is planning to start sheltering in a matter of days.

Kalisha Jackson is among a growing group of neighbors trying to get the City of Long Beach to move the temporary shelter out of their westside neighborhood and Silverado Park.

“We are not against to the homeless being housed,” Jackson said. “We have an opposition to the homeless being housed in a public park.”

Angela Gómez, a resident of the area for 35 years, is also opposed to the gym becoming a shelter. She remembers when the gym was last used as a homeless shelter during the COVID pandemic.

“When we would bring our children to the park, one of them would get completely nude at the drinking fountain right there,” Gómez said about an unhoused person.

Gómez said crime and drug use was also rampant at the park.

The city says the gym was built to be an emergency shelter with on-site showers and bathrooms and since Long Beach declared a homelessness emergency and needs more beds during the winter months, the gym was selected.

In a statement, the city said the shelter will be “set up for approximately 4 months …The fencing and screening being installed will allow for a safe place for both park and shelter uses to co-exist.”

But neighbors don’t think they can, and they hope a planned meeting next week with the city will change their minds.

“This would never happen in Bixby Knoll or Belmont Shore, why is it OK to do it here?” Jackson said.

The city says it will open the shelter at the start of March and close it on May 29.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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