SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California community colleges are one-step closer to possibly needing to start providing special parking for homeless students who live in their cars.

Assemblymember Marc Berman’s (D-Palo Alto) AB 302 passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Friday. The bill, according to its original wording, would require 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.”

The bill will now be moving onto the Senate floor.

RELATED: Homeless Students May Be Allowed To Sleep In Cars Overnight At California Community Colleges

Berman said in a statement that he was excited his bill moved on, but he’s wary of the amendments that were added.

“I look forward to reviewing the amendments when they are available and will have a longer statement at that time,” Berman said.

Current law already requires California community colleges to provide showers for homeless students in good standing.

Back in 2016, then-Governor Jerry 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.

  1. Leigh Anne Shaw says:

    No one can really speak out against the need to support and serve homeless students. However, there is an enormous cost associated with this bill. The cost of providing 24/7 security and hospitality/restroom services at colleges will total into the billions statewide, and it will be the colleges and their communities who will foot the bill.

    Furthermore, it is the type of bill that allows people to say “we’ve done something” without acknowledging that allowing people to sleep in their cars does not solve the problem of homelessness; building houses solves the problem of homelessness. So long as this bill is providing a stopgap measure, the state can ignore the fact that homelessness is still a reality.

    Finally, sleeping in one’s car is not a win for anyone; while it may be a safe option for a limited period of time, the physical and emotional discomfort is not assuaged by the generosity that the bill purports to be based on.

    A better bill would be one that focuses on building new housing in impacted areas while decriminalizing overnight stays in parking lots by students. Homelessness should never be treated as a crime. However, forcing community colleges to shift their limited resources away from education and towards security for parking lots is not going to help us achieve the milestones set by the state for student success.

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