The housing crisis in California has escalated over the last decade, with homelessness touching groups once considered immune from it.
College students are one of these groups. According to a 2019 study, 1 in 5 community college students in California experience homelessness during the academic year. Hunger is also growing, with 50% of community college students reporting food insecurity within the last 30 days. Many of these vulnerable students are former foster youth.
JBAY is working to address homelessness and hunger on college campuses. With the support of the ECMC Foundation, JBAY issued seven grants in January 2021 to establish or expand “basic needs centers” which are centralized service centers on college campuses that help students meet their basic needs such as food, housing, clothing, and transportation.
The seven grants, ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 will assist approximately 20,000 students facing food and housing insecurity across California, from San Diego City College in Southern California to San Joaquin Delta College in the Central Valley to Lake Tahoe Community College in the Sierras.
JBAY Education Project Manager Melissa Bond is leading the effort and wrote a publication on basic needs released in October 2020, speaking to basic needs leaders across California and identifying best practices.
“The pandemic has made matters even worse,” said Bond. “The seven campuses selected for grants will prevent students from losing their hard-won academic gains.”
In additional to critically needed funding, JBAY will provide hands-on technical assistance to the seven campuses, with a focus on ensuring that students receive and maintain the financial aid they qualify to receive.