‘Access to affordable student housing should not be a barrier for students pursuing their education.’ — Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia
SACRAMENTO — Newly introduced legislation — the Student Housing Crisis Act — aims to increase access to affordable student housing by creating incentives and streamlining the development process for projects near higher education institutions.
An estimated 417,000 students lack stable places to sleep, according to surveys conducted across the three public higher education systems. About 5% of undergraduates at the University of California, 10% at California State University and 20% at California Community Colleges.
On Tuesday, March 14, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, joined Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, and the Student HOMES Coalition, with representation from students across California, to announce AB 1630.
“Access to affordable student housing should not be a barrier for students pursuing their education. We are honored to partner with young leaders from across our state on this student-led legislative initiative to alleviate student housing insecurity,” Garcia said in a statement. He believes addressing the student housing shortfall is critical to expanding higher education opportunities for all.
“Students struggling to meet their basic needs face great difficulty achieving their true potential. By ensuring that California students can afford a roof over their heads, we hope to prevent homelessness while allowing our students to focus on their studies and building their dreams.”
Information provided by the student coalition states that UCs only have beds for 35% of their enrolled students, CSUs have beds for 14% of students, and only 12 out of 116 community colleges in California provide housing. These housing limitations require a majority of students to live off campus. Many of California’s largest universities are also located in high-cost housing markets. As a result, far too many students find themselves in substandard living conditions, often far from campus, or at risk of homelessness.
In prepared statements, hear directly from student advocates:
“Students cannot achieve their degree if they are experiencing homelessness. At UC Santa Cruz, solar panels and window curtains cover the dozens of vehicles where students permanently live in parking lots on-campus. We cannot accept this unacceptable reality, and with AB 1630 we can have a serious impact on this humanitarian crisis.”
– Zennon Ulyate-Crow, Chair of the Student HOMES Coalition and UC Santa Cruz student
“Across the UC system, an unimaginable number of students are being forced into unsustainable commutes or homelessness as a result of the lack of adequate and affordable housing options available near our campuses. The UC Student Association is proud to co-sponsor AB 1630, which will alleviate the housing supply and affordability crises occurring around our campuses to ensure that students no longer have to struggle to find a place to live while pursuing their degree.”
– Michelle Andrews, UCSA Government Relations Chair and UC Davis student
“As California’s community colleges serve a population of students that is mostly low-income, many of whom live in communities with incredibly expensive costs and/or severely limited units, the importance of access to affordable, off-campus housing cannot be understated. For too long community college students are assumed able to live comfortably in their communities and can pursue their educational career. With every 1 out of 5 community college students suffering housing insecurity, we know this is the opposite of reality. AB 1630 is the beginning of the solution to this problem, breaking the barriers for something as simple yet needed as affording somewhere to live.”
– Zachariah Wooden, SSCCC Vice President of Legislative Affairs and San Joaquin Delta College student
“The student housing crisis touches all points of a campus ecosystem and beyond. Students aren’t just the learners in our college classrooms. They run some of the classes students take, help operate many of the campus facilities we enjoy, and prepare the food students eat on campus. Moreover, when our college communities face a critical housing shortage, our students are pitted against our most vulnerable community members just to live where the go to school.”
– Matt Aini, Policy Director for GENup and UC Berkeley student
- Affordable Student Housing, Eduardo Garcia: Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia