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Community Digest

Long Beach : Terminal Island Site Chosen for Homeless Service Center

June 24, 1993

After encountering repeated opposition from property owners who didn't want a homeless center in their back yards, the Long Beach City Council has decided on a site that's in no one's back yard: a 2.9-acre property across the Los Angeles River on Terminal Island.

The 8-1 vote to pursue acquisition of the Terminal Island site, which includes a 10,000-square-foot building owned by the U.S. Navy, prompted Christian Outreach Appeal, a nonprofit group that has been spearheading the homeless center project, to back out as potential managers. Vice Mayor Jeffrey A. Kellogg voted against the proposal, saying a multi-service center is unnecessary.

Jack Jensen, president of Christian Outreach Appeal, said the Terminal Island site is too remote from the city. "Services should be where the need is," he said. "You have to be where the people are."

Undeterred by the group's objections, the council voted to seek another organization to manage the project.

The proposed center would concentrate at one site a number of services for the homeless that are scattered throughout the city, including food distribution, child care, employment assistance and drug and alcohol treatment.

Acquisition and development of the Terminal Island site, which was a Navy commissary, would cost about $900,000, city officials said. The property will not be available until next year at the earliest.

By a 5-4 margin, the council also voted to pursue acquisition of a site at 1620 W. 9th St. as a possible temporary location for the center.

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