The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Their student housing plan failed, but what else can El Camino do?

Deashay Johnson | Special to The Union

Student housing on campus was being considered by El Camino College.

California was giving out millions of dollars to create affordable living spaces for students.

Then, the state slashed that money and took away incentives to build student housing to salvage their growing budget deficit, and with that, went down El Camino’s plan.

The college’s dreams to create on-campus student housing are now down the drain, and it looks like there’s no other place for students to turn to if they are unhoused, or in danger of becoming unhoused.

Last spring semester, the college reported 48 unhoused students, according to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Data Mart. This is the highest it has been since it started reporting all unhoused students in the fall 2022 semester.

It doesn’t seem like a lot, but whether a college has 10 unhoused students or 500, it’s still important to get them assistance to stay safe and help them succeed in education .

The college does offer some services for those in need. 

The Basic Needs Center, located above the Bookstore, can help students with housing assistance with the college’s Housing Support Program.

This service, however, is limited. It does not give students immediate emergency housing and is more of a referral program to outside services that may take time to process and house unhoused students. 

Homestays, a type of housing offered by El Camino’s International Student Program, may seem like another solution, but its price for students makes it infeasible.

Applying for and staying in a homestay can cost several thousands of dollars, since it is for international students who can pay the high price tag.

Despite this setback, El Camino is not actively working with one company that could fill the gap left by the student housing plan’s failure. 

Jovenes, Inc. is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that provides resources and shelter to unhoused youths and young adults. Even better, Jovenes made a point to work with community colleges to provide shelters and resources to students in need.

Jovenes is partnered with East Los Angeles College, Long Beach City College, Los Angeles Southwest College, Cerritos College, and more.

At Cerritos, their partnership with Jovenes led to The Village at Cerritos College, California’s first-ever housing project for college students using what the college paid for with its budget cut.

While Cerritos paid for the housing buildings, Jovenes leases it from the college and takes care of any costs with funding from several private donors and Los Angeles County District 4.

El Camino can do this as well. The college owned an apartment building off-campus to rent to students before they sold the property off.

 According to real estate marketplace Zillow, there are several apartment buildings for sale close to the college, ranging in price from $2 million to $6 million.

Following in Cerritos’ footsteps, El Camino could buy one of these buildings with some of its leftover $56 million budget, and then work with Jovones to lease and manage the new apartment building for students.

While this isn’t the all-encompassing solution of having student housing available for all. It is still an important step in assisting the most vulnerable students who can have immediate help provided to them. While this doesn’t provide a comprehensive for housing all students, it is still an important step in assisting the most vulnerable.

The state claims it will provide the full amount of the promised funding for low-cost housing sometime in 2025. That’s a full two years away. 

This also doesn’t factor in how long constructing the buildings will take by itself, including the capacity it will hold for students.

For now, El Camino should do everything it can to help those students in need.

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