Long Beach City College
Long Beach City College

Community college in Long Beach, Calif., is letting homeless students use campus parking lot to sleep overnight in their vehicles

Nov. 4, 2021
The Safe Parking Program at Long Beach City College lets students use a secure parking lot area from 10 p.m. through 7 a.m. seven nights a week.

Long Beach City College in Long Beach, Calif., is letting students who are homeless sleep in their vehicles overnight in a campus parking lot.

The community college says in a news release that it has established the "Safe Parking Program," which is aimed at providing unhoused students with secure on-campus parking structures overnight.

The college says at least 70 students sleep in their cars each night. Those students experiencing homelessness will now be able to stay at the Pacific Coast Campus Parking Structure between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. seven nights a week.

The college has contracted a security firm to keep watch throughout the duration of the pilot program, until June 30, 2022. 

Students also have access to restrooms and Wi-Fi throughout the night, and can use the showers at the Pacific Coast Campus in the mornings between 6 and 8 a.m. daily. 

Homeless students also can get help from college staff to find more long-term, stable housing, according to college.

“Our goal for this program is that it will serve as a pathway to housing stability for our students,” says Board of Trustees President Uduak-Joe Ntuk. “These students would otherwise have to be worrying nightly about their vehicles being broken into, trying not to be seen or bothered, and not having the police called on them, all while keeping up with their coursework. It could be an exhausting situation that makes it more difficult to get ahead.”

Students won’t be able to have partners or children sleeping in the vehicle with them. Service and emotional support animals are allowed to stay with the students if proper documentation is provided.

UCLA study published late last year found that 1 in 5 California community college students, 1 in 10 California State University students and 1 in 20 University of California students were experiencing homelessness.

Including K-12 students, the number of students experiencing homelessness in the state has risen nearly 50% in the last decade, the study estimated.

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