Homeless students at SCC; How City College serves vulnerable population

Homeless students make up a significant percent of students at community colleges across the nation. City College has some programs in place to help those struggling people. | Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson | vanessanelson.express@gmail.comHomeless students make up a significant percent of students at community colleges across the nation. City College has some programs in place to help those struggling people. | Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson | vanessanelson.express@gmail.com

Allahiya Shabazz
Staff Writer
ashabazz.express@gmail.com

 

Students at City College are a part of the rising numbers of Sacramento’s homeless. Though specific data for unaccommodated youths or other students dealing with homelessness is not available, 33.9 percent of the student body is reported to be living below the poverty line, according to the 2016 Student Household Income Level by the City College Office of Planning, Research & Institutional Effectiveness.

Sacramento’s homeless population rose from 2,232 people in 2016 to 3,665 in 2017, according to Sacramento Steps Forward and Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research in a July 10 report.

“We are going to implement the city’s $64 million Whole Person Care grant together with our public housing resources to get 2,000 people off the streets as soon as possible. No excuses, no boundaries, action and results are all that matter,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg in response to the report.

Along with this action plan, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1018 into law in October, adding homeless and LGBT students to the list of categories that community colleges are required to create Student Equity Plans for. City College is taking steps toward putting these plans in action to help unaccommodated students and to create a liaison for homeless and foster youth students after a mandate from the state chancellor’s office.

Along with attending classes and studying, many students on their road to higher education are without a permanent residence, a proper place to sleep, and are unable to study because of hunger pains.

College counselors provide crisis counseling, resources and contact information for students in need, according to City College counselor Jon Harvey.

“Seeing that allows us to go, ‘Here’s some jobs you can try on campus.’ You know, work study, financial aid, BOG fee waiver, make sure you get all the financial grants and stuff we can give you here,” says Harvey.

Financial aid clerk Temperance Bonner also explain how the plan will help City College students.

“They’ll be working to get them things like priority registration, and this is something that will follow them in Los Rios and other community colleges in California, as well once it gets implemented,” says Bonner. “We’re working on identifying those students, but the challenge is finding out who those students are. You have to self-identify and a lot of times right now the way we’re finding them is through their BOG application.”

Faculty and staff are encouraging students to have a conversation with them so they are able to help provide students with the proper resources.

“When you talk to us we will get you the resources you need on campus and other resources off campus,” says Bonner. “It’s important for students to understand that if you are couch surfing, staying a week here or there, if your parent is doing the same, living in your car, that is considered being homeless.”

“For the off campus, we recommend that you go to the Wind Youth Services for the Homeless because they have a lot of accommodations,” says financial aid clerk Alisa Foreman. “When we see that they’re homeless and that their financial aid file is still in limbo, we do what we can to try expedite it so they can get their funding as soon as we can.”

“A tip from me is for students to reach out and let us know how we are able to help,” says Foreman.

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