“California’s Failure to build student housing is harming so many California college students – pushing them into homelessness and even depriving them of a college education entirely”
-- CA Senator Scott Wiener.
On February 23, 2022, California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced SB 886, the Student and Faculty Housing Act. If passed, this bill would speed up the construction of on-campus housing at state universities and colleges to meet the increasing demand for accommodations.
While universities and community colleges across the state have been laying plans to expand housing options, construction is often halted by environmental lawsuits filed by neighboring residents who don’t want the construction to occur. SB 886 will remove the environmental hurdles that are being used to stymie construction efforts so that state institutions may meet the basic needs of their student populations. This is necessary because the use of these regulations to stop construction has caused the cost of living on and around college and university campuses to spike in recent years, pushing many students and even faculty into housing insecurity or homelessness.
“Students are not an environmental burden,” says Michelle Andrews, Legislative Director for the Associated Students of UC Davis,” they should never have to worry about where they are going to sleep at night while pursuing a degree.”
Lack of housing is a chronic problem for universities and colleges across the nation. Student homelessness is endemic with an astonishing 14% of university and college students experiencing homelessness at some point during their college years. 60% of California community college students experience housing insecurity, which means that they sometimes don’t know if they will be able to pay rent or maintain their current living arrangements. Over 1 million community college students in California Alone are unable to find adequate and affordable housing.
Wesley House Student Residence works with local nonprofits and legislators to pave the way to meeting our students’ basic needs so that they may focus on their studies and graduating with four-year degrees. This bill, if passed, will be a big step towards meeting those needs.
“Students have been denied access to education due to their basic needs insecurities,” commented Jasmine Prasad, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Student Senate for California Community Colleges, “we are creating an inequitable system.”