Proposed Bill to Allow Homeless College Students to Sleep in Campus Parking Lots

Proposed Bill to Allow Homeless College Students to Sleep in Campus Parking Lots

Max Rodriguez

The typical college student worries about getting the right classes, landing internships and passing their finals, but some students worry about where they will sleep.

A proposed piece of legislation in the state Capitol wants to open-up parking lots at community colleges to allows homeless students to sleep inside their cars overnight.

Áres Flores is currently a student at College of the Desert, and he has struggled to find a permanent home since a young age.
Flores said, “I think that a lot of people take that for granted, especially if you have parents and you come home and that’s what you’ve been doing for all of your life since kindergarten.”
He grew up in foster care and aged out of the system while he was in high school.

Flores said, “It mostly affected me the strongest during my senior year because that was the year that I was going to turn 18 and things were moving very quickly.”

But Flores is not alone in the battle to find a place to live, homelessness affects students all across Calfornia.

Dr. Annebelle Nery, Vice President of Student Success at College of the Desert said they are studying the proposed state legislation to keep parking lots open overnight for students.

Dr. Nery said, “When we got the referrals from the faculty we realized we weren’t just dealing with five or ten students, we’re dealing with a hundred students.”

She adds C.O.D. already works with students to provide missing services such as free public bus transportation and food banks on campus.

Dr. Nery said, “Something we need to face because we know that education will provide them the access and opportunity to get out of that situation.”

She said the campus will research the parking lot plan this semester before anything is decided.

Meanwhile, Flores said sleeping in the parking lot is a part of the fix for the problem, but hopes that by getting an education he can be part of the wider solution.

Flores said, “Education brings so much more freedom to a person and it brings so much more liberal and progressive that can benefit the communities that we form a part of.”

The California Assembly Bill 302 was sent to the Commission of Higher Ed. for review, a hearing is planned at the beginning of March.