Pierce tucks in unhoused students

College districts across LAUSD have helped provide students who are not currently housed with living spaces for safety and studying.


Pierce College teamed up with five organizations to provide homeless students shelter, food, and beds across the city in all nine school districts beginning last year. The program helps over 100 students in a period when homelessness has become a hot button issue in the city of Los Angeles.


The goal for these housing developments is to provide living spaces for students to successfully work on their education. LA Room and Board, which has three separate locations throughout the county (one of which is in Woodland Hills), will set up roommates to board with each other and provide access for meals and support them with case management. 


Brahma Bodega Coordinator Geremy Mason said some students who are housed in these programs have, “problems with parents and family members.”


Shelters across the district are not ideal study environments for students according to Vice President of Student Services Jason Cifra. 


“They are very chaotic and may have different groups of people in there who are not necessarily students,” Cifra said.  “Such concerns regard personal safety and personal space.”


But it’s not just problems at home which contribute to hardship of the students; Los Angeles prices for rent and housing have a reputation for being expensive. 


“Some of it is situational and some of it happens to be a matter of economics,” Cifra said.


Financial worries are a concern for the students and it is felt statewide as Pierce staff member Marcos Garcia expresses hope for long term benefits for these housing developments including the prospect of roommates. 


“Even if you’re not homeless, it’s really hard to live in California,” Garcia said.


The school district provides part of the funding for the housing while each individual college provides an amount based on the number of students housed the previous year. 


“Colleges that had less beds occupied last year will probably get a little less this year,” Mason said. 


Private donations have not been set up.


While recent local programs have been implemented by the city to provide homeless citizens proper shelter, it is too soon for any substantial analysis to be established to the effectiveness of these programs. 


In June, it is estimated the homeless population experienced a 9% rise throughout Los Angeles County according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

The program has enough funding to provide for the academic year and there are hopes expressed it will be extended into the following year.