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Students Without Houses

I am writing in support of the Santa Barbara City College student survey facts about homelessness and housing being collected and distributed for the community to understand the impact.

As a homeless outreach worker, I have helped enroll homeless students living on the street and in a car. Two female students must sleep in shifts because their family of seven live in a vehicle. A young homeless man going from shelter to under a tree, terrified of assaults and losing his computer and books. I am grateful to SBCC for discounts, food, and books to aid these students. Education is the key for needed change.

But a fact that needs to be addressed is that SBCC must provide housing for their students. SBCC is our community college, but its greatest income is not from our community but foreign students and out-of-state students, brought in with heavy advertising overseas.

Our rental housing so desperately needed by seniors and local workforce has been below 0.01 percent. Our workforce cannot get housing. If foreign and out-of-town students were housed through the campus in dorms, we could have more rentals available for our community work force and seniors.

The addition of five ESL language schools, one of which is SBCC also impacts our housing because the students are no longer required to be in homestays and rent local housing instead, further creating a housing deficit. We have thousands of people on the wait lists for housing. Our housing is in a crisis.

It’s time to step up to the plate, SBCC.

Editor’s Note: SBCC stated that for its 2017-18 budget of $93.7 million, out-of-state student revenue was $5.2 million; international student revenue was $9.4 million. These students pay $331 per unit, and California residents pay $46 per unit. [Local high-school graduates pay no fees.] International student enrollment is capped at 1,500 total students; in fall 2018, there were 978.

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