Culver City Observer -

LACCD Approves Funding for Pilot Program to House At-Risk Students

 

April 21, 2022



The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Board of Trustees has voted to direct up to $1,540,408 millions of District funds to pilot a program to provide housing for more than 100 students experiencing homelessness or at high risk of housing insecurity.

This is another example of LACCD taking the lead in addressing student basic needs, access and support to underserved students, said District officials after last week’s Board meeting.

This innovative program has five local partners: Jovenes, Inc., Los Angeles Room and Board (LARB), Optimist Youth Homes and Family Services, Seed House Project, and The Shower of Hope (SoH)—all non-profit organizations that will supply much-needed housing to more than 100 LACCD housing insecure students, helping them to stay enrolled in college and graduate, said district officials.

The LACCD colleges include: West Los Angeles College, Los Angeles City College; East Los Angeles College; Los Angeles Harbor College; Los Angeles Pierce College; Los Angeles Southwest College and Los Angeles Valley College.

This new student housing agreement will run for a full year and end on April 13, 2023. Funding is provided through a one-time state budget allocation for student basic needs that the District aggressively advocated for in the FY 2021, said LACCD officials.

“In many ways, our students’ experiences are a microcosm of the challenges faced by millions of Californians, and that includes the issues of housing and homelessness,” said LACCD Board President Gabriel Buelna. “Too many of our students are housing insecure and have had their studies heavily impacted by the lack of a safe and quiet place to sleep and study. I thank my colleagues for this Board vote, it is a significant step forward in helping these students meet one of their most basic needs.”

“True equity in education is making sure we can level the playing field as much as possible and give all students an opportunity to access our colleges and succeed,” said LACCD Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez. “No student should be forced to choose between keeping a roof over their head and pursuing an education.”

District officials explained that California’s housing crisis is significant and LACCD students have been particularly impacted by current economic conditions, as high rents and cost-of-living have made housing insecurity an even more urgent concern.

The LACCD student body comes from predominantly under-resourced communities with sixty-eight percent (68%) of students coming from low-income families and fifty-three percent (53%) of LACCD students living at or below the poverty-line.

Under the pilot program, the most at-risk students will have a safe place to live and they will also be provided with food, WiFi, and mental health support if needed, said LACCD officials.

In 2021, LACCD sponsored SB 330 (Durazo) [Chapter 572, Statutes of 2021], which authorizes the District to develop a pilot program to build affordable housing for its students or employees. The bill allows the District to enter into partnership with nonprofits or private entities to lease property under fair market value for the construction of much needed housing, if certain conditions are met. The intent of the below fair market value provision is to allow the savings of the lease to be passed along to the students and/or staff being housed with reduced rents. The bill passed the legislature and was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

 

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