LB City Press Release 3/8/2021
Long Beach, CA – Today, the City of Long Beach unveiled the Proposed Long Beach Recovery Act. The $207 million proposal focuses on various economic, fiscal and public health priorities that promote inclusive, effective and prosperous economic and social recovery for Long Beach residents, business owners and workers critically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Long Beach Recovery Act is a bold and ambitious plan to jumpstart the local economy, protect the health and safety of our community, and secure the future of our city,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “The plan would not be possible without the support of the Biden Administration and Congress.”
Over the last year, Long Beach has continued to face many economic and social challenges as a result of the pandemic, including business closures and restrictions; rapid increases in unemployment; sudden and unanticipated loss of income by large parts of the community; disruption in essential services and systems that provide basic life support; and overwhelming and unanticipated demand on the City for assistance from businesses and workers in sectors most impacted by the Safer at Home Health Order restrictions.
Recognizing the unprecedented economic impacts the pandemic has had on Long Beach residents, workers and business owners, on December 15, 2020, the Long Beach City Council requested City staff develop an Economic Recovery Strategy to address the economic impacts of COVID-19.
The proposed plan outlines various initiatives identified under three key areas of focus:
Economic Recovery ($51 million)
Includes a targeted, data-driven and equitable approach to the City’s economic recovery strategy, including:
- COVID-19 protection for businesses and nonprofits, including funding for testing, epidemiology support, contract tracing, and epidemiologic reporting activities to help protect service sector businesses, non-profits, workers, customers and visitors.
- Direct funding relief to local businesses and workers critically impacted by the pandemic, most notably in industry sectors such as restaurants, breweries, bars, fitness and personal services, arts and cultural organizations, and nonprofit organizations.
- Funding to address historic economic inequities that have intensified as a result of the COVID-19 recession, including an expansion of WorkLB and additional CARES Act grants to increase digital literacy and access to technology in low-income neighborhoods, worker support, economic empowerment zones, and other strategies.
- And funding for the City’s Clean City program to keep commercial corridors clean of trash and debris and programs to reduce illegal dumping in an effort to enhance customer retention for impacted businesses and improve neighborhood quality of life.
Healthy & Safe Community ($72.8 million)
Aims to address the highest needs of community members most adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- Programs to support public health, including free testing at City testing sites and mobile testing in hard-hit communities, personal protective equipment to nonprofits serving communities, mobile testing, and safety and prevention educational materials.
- Ongoing support for basic needs, including food security, housing support staffing and right to counsel, and case management for older adults.
- Ongoing support for people experiencing homelessness, including temporary shelter services, expanded mobile outreach services, and funding towards the development of interim or permanent housing.
- Programs focusing on physical and mental health equity; early childhood education and literacy development; and violence prevention and support services, re-entry, and expansion of the Long Beach Activating Safe Communities interventionist team.
- And continued tenant assistance through the Emergency Rental Assistance program to support lower-income renters who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Securing Our City’s Future ($83.2 million)
Addresses ongoing budget shortfalls and revenue losses as a result of COVID-19 to ensure the City’s lasting recovery, including:
- Funding to replenish reserves to maintain structural balance in the City’s budget.
- Funding to eliminate City furloughs for the remainder of the 2021 fiscal year to allow the restoration of critical City services.
- And funding to balance the 2022 fiscal year budget to maintain City services for residents and businesses.
“This economic recovery proposal is not only a reflection of the City’s continued financial, social and economic challenges, but also a clear reminder of our local government’s commitment to our residents, business owners and entire community,” said City Manager Tom Modica. “This proposed plan will contribute significantly to the short and long-term economic recovery and stability of Long Beach.”
Community Input & Racial Equity
The proposed plan includes public input and recommendations garnered from robust community outreach efforts. During the development of the plan, the City conducted over 30 community roundtable listening sessions and public meetings with non-profit organizations, business associations and industry experts where over 350 community leaders and representatives provided their feedback regarding the major challenges, solutions and recommendations for COVID-19 response and economic recovery for local businesses and workers. To promote language access, translation services were available at some of the listening sessions and participants were offered the opportunity to provide their comments verbally, written, or via translators.
The proposed plan additionally incorporates goals and objectives from the City’s Economic Development Blueprint, Everyone In, Digital Inclusion Roadmap, and the Framework for Reconciliation, and recommends actions needed to ensure a racially equitable economic recovery, with an emphasis on high-risk populations and the hardest-hit business sectors and workers.
The proposed plan outlines three federal, state and county funding sources to carry out the plan’s key initiatives:
- $151 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to be used for various initiatives outlined under each of the three focus areas.
- Nearly $29 million in Emergency Rental Assistance funding, including $13.75 million in federal funds and $14.74 million from the State, to be used exclusively for the City’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
- Nearly $27 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases Grant, received by Los Angeles County, to be used for various public health initiatives outlined under each of the three focus areas, including but not limited to the City’s ongoing efforts towards COVID-19 testing, contract tracing and epidemiologic surveillance.
Additional funding opportunities to support the City’s efforts in securing long-term economic resiliency are anticipated later this year and in the future. The City Manager has provided recommendations on how funds will be used and upon Council approval of a final plan will further develop program specifics and make adjustments to programs to ensure funds are meeting the appropriate need.
On March 16, the proposed plan will be presented to the Long Beach City Council, where it will be further reviewed and ultimately approved along with any modifications, recommendations or additional input from the Council. Significant public input to inform the strategies was provided through meetings of the Economic Development and Finance Committee over the past two months, and additional public comment on the proposed plan will be taken at the Federal Legislative Committee meeting on March 11 prior to the full City Council deliberation on March 16.
The full proposed plan can be read here. For more information about the City of Long Beach, visit http://longbeach.gov/. Follow us on social to keep up with the latest news: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.