March 05, 2020

Christina Jimenez

 T 916.322.4004

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Fourteen California community colleges are being awarded three-year annual grants of up to $700,000 each to help homeless and housing insecure students find reliable shelter.

The College Homeless and Housing Insecure Pilot Program is being funded through a $9 million allocation included in the 2019-20 budget by the state Legislature to support rapid rehousing services to California community college students.

“Students attend California’s community colleges because they are seen as an effective way of moving up on the socioeconomic ladder, and many of those students are living in poverty,” said Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “We are committed to helping our students succeed, and that means working with community-based organizations to build upon existing resources in implementing sustainable programs to support homeless and housing-insecure students.”

Nineteen percent of respondents who participated in a 2019 California Community Colleges #RealCollege Survey conducted by The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice at Temple University said they were homeless at some time during the previous year. Sixty percent of respondents said they had experienced housing insecurity - which includes an array of challenges that include an inability to pay rent or utilities, not having a place to stay or needing to move frequently – within the previous year. Nearly 40,000 students from 57 California community colleges participated in the survey, and 7 in 10 students said they had experienced food or housing insecurity during the previous year.

While California’s community colleges are the most affordable, higher education system in the country, the real cost of college – when including housing, food, and transportation – has never been higher.

“Pretty much any classroom you go into you’re going to find students who are facing food and housing insecurities,” said De Anza College student Amine El Moznine, who serves as the Student Senate for California Community Colleges’ vice president of legislative affairs. “These are students who are working hard, may be working more than one job, and are still faced with seemingly insurmountable financial challenges.” 

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office used a data-driven approach to hone in on campuses great need and the ability to implement the pilot program immediately. At least one campus was selected from each of the California Community Colleges’ seven regions, and selection criteria included the availability of low-income housing in the area, the percentage of students receiving Pell grants, the percentage of foster or former foster youth students, the percentage of student veterans, and the percentage of students living with a disability. Campuses were also rewarded if they had effective relationships with community-based housing organizations.

Colleges identified to receive annual, three-year grants are:

  • Antelope Valley College$700,000
  • Barstow College$500,000
  • Butte College$700,000
  • Cerritos College$700,000
  • Gavilan College$500,000
  • Imperial Valley College$700,000
  • Long Beach City College$700,000
  • Los Angeles Southwest College$700,000
  • College of the Redwoods$500,000
  • Riverside City College$700,000
  • San Diego City College$600,000
  • Fresno City College$700,000
  • Victor Valley College$700,000
  • Modesto College$700,000

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 115 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.