SAN JOSE (KPIX) — After years of pleading for help, struggling San Jose State University students are finally getting their demands met. The college began offering one dozen beds inside dormitories at the beginning of this semester.
In 2018, a group of students marched to the president’s office demanding that parking spots be made available for students to sleep safely at night in their cars. The group also demanded that a dozen beds be made available. SJSU’s Student Housing Alliance reported that year that more than 4,300 students had experienced homelessness.READ MORE: Oakland Ties 2020 Homicide Total in First 9 Months of 2021
“Most of our students need a form of bridge housing, maybe just a couple days,” said San Jose State Associate Vice-President of Health, Wellness and Student Services Catherine Vossplaxton. “We’ve never said ‘no’ to a student who needs housing support.”
The pilot program will offer the beds inside student housing so that no one can identify a struggling, unhoused student. They’ll be given dining passes as well, Vossplaxton said.
Instead of parking spots that students had also demanded, Vossplaxton said they’ll be given a place to sleep and a parking pass. She explained it’s a safer solution.
Lucas Vu, who must split the rent with two other roommates and hold a job, agreed that living in the Bay Area especially while going to school is challenging.READ MORE: Advocates for Immigrant Rights March From Santa Rosa to Healdsburg
“I work a part-time job and it’s honestly pretty hard to keep up with my school work and keep that job at the same time,” Vu said. “I have to do it in order to pay the rent.”
Vossplaxton said with San Jose’s eviction moratorium ending soon she expects the demand for housing will increase. So far only one student has been identified for the pilot program.
“Many of our students increasingly are coming from out of the area and the high cost of living can make it very challenging,” she said.
“I think that’s awesome, I think that’s a great thing that they’re doing,” San Jose State freshman Victoria McDowell said. “It definitely is expensive and I know it must be hard for other families that don’t have the funds to do so.”
The pilot program will be assessed at the end of the semester in December to figure out if it was successful, including whether the number of beds are enough. Other housing options are available such as off campus alternatives, Vossplaxton said.MORE NEWS: Pelosi Expects House to Pass Infrastructure Bill This Week
“A lot of people don’t have opportunities to go to this school because of the housing expenses,” Vu said. “So San Jose State helping students with that definitely is a good thing to hear.”