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LACCD takes next steps in creating student housing

District board members discussed the plan to assist housing insecure students.

By Cassandra Nava, Managing Editor

A proposed site for student housing that is still being evaluated is at the Bundy Campus at Santa Monica College. State lawmakers have awarded billions of dollars over the next few years to build or expand dorms, which will provide affordable housing and a campus-life experience for community college students. (Savannah Greenly | Valley Star)

More than half of LACCD students reported a need for affordable housing in a new survey conducted by the district.

The survey, which asked 58,197 students, was conducted in order to assess the need for student housing. The district has made housing a priority in accordance with last November’s Measure LA, a $5.3 billion LACCD bond measure and SB 169, a $500 million bill that establishes a Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program. The bill, which became law in 2021, allows California community colleges to submit requests for housing projects. Measure LA allocated funds for infrastructure, sustainability, athletic facilities and fields and technology. Student housing had no monetary amount attached to the bond.

LACCD trustees discussed findings from the survey, and expressed their excitement with the plans to change the landscape of community colleges.

“This work is deeply personal to me, and like a lot of other people in this room I have students whose educational trajectory has been affected by homelessness and housing insecurity,” said trustee Sara Hernandez, who is also a professor at Valley. “We are so big and have this amazing opportunity — if we do it right.”

While the prospect of the student aid was well-received, the trustees expressed concerns with the sustainability of the project. Unsteady enrollment patterns, accepting part or full-time students and the prospect of the housing being mixed-use developments were questions asked to Rueben Smith, the LACCD’s chief facilities executive who relayed the data and plans to the board.

"The district, at this point, is exploring all options,” said Valley President Barry Gribbons. “We've had some discussion about the different opportunities and the campus community. They indicated a preference for providing off-campus student housing run by a public private partnership."

District wide student housing has a proposed rent of anywhere between $400-$500 per month, as they found that the average student surveyed could afford a rent price of $367. According to apartment listing website, Apartments, the average monthly payment for a studio in Los Angeles is $1,432, a one-bedroom averages to $2,225 and prices continue to range upwards depending on size, room number and location.

“A lot of my teammates are three to four in an apartment, just trying to get by,” said Valley football player Matthew Myers. “This would give us less of a worry of having to miss class, and we can really focus on our education without having to say, ‘Oh I need to pay rent, I need to buy this, what am I going to eat today.”

The California Community College system conducted a statewide survey across 57 colleges and almost 40,000 students in 2019. The findings revealed that 19 percent of students experienced homelessness in the previous year, while 60 percent were housing insecure.

While the LACCD conducted initial research, housing is still in early stages. The district is pinning down its objectives for the project. Key factors yet to be determined are whether the developments will be on or off campus and if they will include additional resources such as childcare, a food distribution pantry and more.

1 comentario

Adam Stephens
Adam Stephens
15 dic 2023

It’s great that at least LACCD is working on this problem. Student dormitories have a very positive effect on a student’s studies if there are all the conditions for this. When I entered college, first of all, I looked at what kind of dormitory would be provided for me and at how the admissions committee looked at the letter of recommendation, because sometimes it is unrealistic to write on your own without the letter of recommendation writing services. I hope that LACCD will complete the work and the students will have a decent hostel.

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