By Brenda De La Cruz
The Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees approved a $1.5 million pilot program, allocated from district funds, to house over 100 students who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The idea and proposal was brought up last year as part of Senate Bill 330. The bill prohibits local jurisdictions from enacting new laws which can reduce the legal limit on new housing or delay housing by means of administrative barriers.
SB 330 also allows LACCD to partner with non-profits or private programs to meet the needs of the pilot program.
Currently, the LACCD has partnered with five local businesses:
Jovenes, Inc (who help those ages 18-25 in Southeast LA County)
Los Angeles Room and Board (who focus on keeping community college students enrolled and on the path to graduate while housed)
Optimist Youth Homes and Family Services (who help homeless youth and young families, provide mental health services, etc)
Seed House Project (helps homeless youth with housing, education, employment opportunity, and mentorship)
The Shower of Hope (provides unhoused individuals with meals, showers, clothing, hygiene items, and case management to help with housing)
The pilot will run for an entire year and aims to help students who were affected by multiple factors, such as high rents, cost-of-living and the recent pandemic that made resources even scarcer than they were already.
Not only will these students receive housing, but they will also be provided with wrap-around services to help them through a strengths-based approach by providing basic needs. Additional services will include food, WiFi, mental health, tutoring, academic and financial counseling, and employment assistance.
Being able to provide its students with housing during an ongoing pandemic is crucial in ensuring these students have the tools to help them graduate.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) conducts annual homeless counts in an effort to determine what services are needed. However, due to COVID-19 a count has not been conducted since 2020.
According to LAHSA, the homeless population in Los Angeles County increased by 12.7% from 2019 to 2020.
This year’s count has taken place but the results are not expected to be disclosed until over the summer.
Campus News reached out to LACCD Board of Trustees President Gabriel Buelna for additional details on how the pilot will be conducted, but did not hear back in time for publication.