Allowing homeless students to sleep in their cars may solve one problem, but it introduces another.
Theses issues were brought up at Academic Senate on Monday when AB 302 was discussed by Interim President Larry Buckley.
If this assembly bill passes, this would allow homeless community college students to park their cars on campus to sleep overnight. These individuals would need to be enrolled in courses, have paid their enrollment fees and be in good standing with the college.
The problem this introduces is a financial one.
The captain of the Sheriff Station stated more security would cost an additional $1,000 per day, per campus, Buckley said. This means a total of $365,000 would need to go to each of the nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District.
Increased security would ensure only registered students would park their cars overnight.
“We don’t know exactly how many students are homeless here, so without a specific number we can only go by an estimated amount,” Buckley said.
The president said that with the added cost around this new procedure the cost could reach $1 million a year.
Buckley said he doesn’t know if this is the most effective process to help homeless students, but if the legislation does pass, the school will find a way to meet the law.
“They are hearing our voices right now about our reservations, and while I embrace the concept of doing things to address homelessness and food insecurity for our student are very, very real,” Buckley said.
Regardless of the outcome, Buckley said that simply allowing homeless students to sleep in cars is not enough.
“Is it okay for us to say, ‘Okay homeless students, thank you for being here today. I’m going home tonight and you can sleep in the parking lot and I’ll see you in the morning,’ and that solves the problem. It does not,” Buckley said.
Financially though, implementing AB 302 may be difficult considering the school’s financial situation.
Senate Treasurer Angela Belden reported that budget difficulties are continuing. She said this year’s budget is more than 3 million and 6 million for the following year.
“We are falling on some hard times, and it is estimated that we will end the year with a $3.2 million. We have zero dollars in reserves locally. And wait, it gets better. Next year, we are projecting a $6 million deficit. So assume the crash positions, everybody,” Belden joked.