El Camino College Union

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Community Corner: Rent hikes make it difficult for students to continue with their education

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A month or two ago, I came home to a wooden post outside my house advertising its sale. “Call for inquiries.” I had a lot of those.

Would we have to move? Where? Can we afford any other place? As the days and weeks passed, each family member carried on with his/her daily routine and, just as unexpectedly as the sign went up, we were soon notified of a rent increase of $500 a month from our new landlord. Renovations to the exterior of our home started immediately, and interior alterations are soon to come.

I, like many of my student peers, chose El Camino College because of financial reasons. While my financial aid and work-study help me support myself, a rent increase is difficult for my family to withstand. My only parent’s business has not been doing well, and I am about to graduate from El Camino and transfer to a much more expensive institution. It is an important time for me, but if necessary, I considered taking a gap year or finding a second job, foregoing all my prior plans just to support my family. It is a period where every single family member must be mature and make sacrifices to make ends meet. We have to support one another and support my mom especially.

A couple months ago on campus, I walked passed a table where someone was collecting signatures petitioning rent hikes in LA County. At the time, I was indifferent because I thought it wouldn’t happen to me. But now I feel the impacts firsthand and even see it happening to my close friends. My best friend’s family just moved into a cramped, one-room apartment for their four-member household.

It’s unfortunate that we have to compromise the trajectory of our educational plans just to ensure that we have basic shelter. In this time of anxiety, it seems to me that there’s not much we can do except make financial adjustments and support one another.

-Charlotte Vo, 19, international studies major

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Community Corner: Rent hikes make it difficult for students to continue with their education