Long Beach approaches homelessness in community through REACH teams

Long Beach is helping people experiencing homelessness by providing physical and mental health services to those in need.

Jaysha Patel Image
Friday, September 3, 2021
Long Beach approaches homelessness through REACH teams
The city of Long Beach is focusing on helping people who are experiencing homelessness by offering long term support.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Long Beach is conducting outreach missions to lend a helping hand to homeless people through REACH teams.

REACH stands for "Restorative Engagement to Achieve Collective Health."

Each REACH team has a public health nurse, a mental health clinician and outreach workers.

They've been helping the community for about two months.

Before REACH teams were implemented, the city had teams known as HEART, or "Homelessness Education and Response Teams."

The city of Long Beach wanted to approach homelessness in a new way which is why there was a transition to REACH teams.

"We've seen an impact with being able to better engage people around their physical healthcare needs. Especially with people who need higher level of care such as a skilled nursing facility," said homeless services bureau manager Paul Duncan.

Some of the people the REACH teams encounter have had negative experiences in the past which may make them hesitant to accept their help.

"We're working to really engage people and that's part of our name as restorative engagement, so with taking approach that's really focused on people's wellness both physically and mentally, and really focusing on what is going to be more helpful to them versus this is what we have, take it or leave it," Duncan added.

The REACH teams are out Monday to Friday and there's also a multi-service center located on West 12th Street where people can grab food, take a shower, and get help.

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