Homeless California Students Forced to Sleep in Parked Cars
The program also aims to provide a safe space for them to park overnight
California’s Long Beach City College has now resorted to allowing its homeless students to sleep in their vehicles at the university’s parking garage, according to reports.
On Monday, the school announced its “Safe Parking Program” program, which aims to help unhoused students.
The program also aims to provide a safe space for them to park overnight.
Enrolled homeless students will be permitted to stay at the Pacific Coast Campus parking structure seven nights a week.
Students will have access to WIFI and restrooms throughout the night.
They will also be able to use showers at the Pacific Coast Campus during the morning hours.
The school said the “Safe Parking Program” is the only known program of its kind in the region.
College District official Mike Muñoz said almost 70 students sleep in their cars each night.
Muñoz said in the statement:
“If we can help to keep our students safe so they can better focus on their student responsibilities, this program is absolutely worth pursuing."
“Our goal at LBCC is always to remove barriers that get in the way of our student’s success.”
The university said it would help homeless students find stable housing.
According to a UCLA study from 2020, one out of five California community college students, one out of 10 California State University students, and one out of 20 University of California students experience homelessness.
The study also found homeless K-12 students in the state have risen to 50 percent in the last ten years.
The LA Times reported:
The program was modeled heavily after a California Assembly bill, which died in the state Senate last year, that had proposed a statewide overnight parking program for unhoused students throughout the 116-campus California Community Colleges system.
The bill failed largely because of liability concerns and questions over funding.
LBCC officials ask students who are seeking a space to complete an emergency aid application and to be enrolled in at least nine units at the college. Students must also have current car registration and insurance, a requirement that may be a barrier for some, Munoz said, so the college is also working with the LBCC Foundation’s Helping the Homeless Students Associate Group to consider additional support.
In 2019, Neon Nettle reported the Department of Housing and Urban Development revealed an increase in homelessness in California, higher than all other states combined.
Homelessness in the U.S. increased by 2.7% in 2019, with California as the driving force.
But despite the Golden State increase, the majority of other states saw homelessness decreasing.