SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Nearly one in five community college students in California has been homeless in the past year and the state wants to make sure they have a safe place to stay- their car in a protected parking lot.
Assembly Bill 302 unanimously passed the Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
It calls for campus administrators to “grant overnight access to those facilities (parking facilities) to any homeless student who is enrolled in coursework, has paid enrollment fees, and is in good standing with the community college, and would require the governing board of the community college district to determine a plan of action to implement this requirement.”
The students would need to sign a liability and waiver form and would have access to bathroom facilities.
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office released a report, done in conjunction with The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, showing nearly 400,000 of the state’s 2.1 million community college students have been homeless in the past year. Approximately 60 percent of the nearly 40,000 survey respondents said they were “housing insecure” in the past year; another 50 percent experienced food insecurity in the past month.
As part of AB 302, students who use the overnight parking lots would be connected to housing, food, and financial assistance resources offered by the state, county, and community college district.
The current law already requires California Community Colleges to provide showers for homeless students in good standing.
In 2016 Governor Brown signed AB 801, known as the Success for Homeless Youth in Higher Education Act, into law. It gives priority enrollment for homeless and foster youth, and requires all California Community College and California State University campuses to have a Homeless and Foster Student Liaison in the financial aid office to assist homeless and foster students as they enroll and take classes. The bill also waives the California Community College enrollment fee for all homeless and foster youth.