Homelessness among college students has been on the rise for years. This semester two professors have taken it upon themselves to provide care for students who are homeless. In addition to their efforts, the college as a whole needs to do more to ensure that all students, regardless of living conditions, feel safe and cared for on campus.
Professors Lynora Rogacs and Cheryl Beard are on the right track. Although, previously unaware of the issue, both Rogacs and Beard have taken steps to help PCC students who don’t have a home to return to after school.
Both professors have begun putting together care packages, which include hair gel, deodorant and a first aid kit. They have also started working toward a long-term goal of mandatory training for all staff on campus to ensure that they handle situations of homelessness with empathy and thoughtfulness.
Although this is the right response, it shouldn’t be the burden of two professors to care for all the homeless students on campus. From the janitors to the Board, this issue should be discussed at all levels because to ignore it would be ignoring the students at PCC who experience this serious issue.
PCC already provides a variety of educational needs, including services for veterans and the disabled. If student success and education is really at the forefront of PCC’s staff, then services for homeless students would match those of other students confronting additional challenges. With further resources available, homeless students would be more able to concentrate on their education instead of worrying about where they’ll sleep at night.
PCC should look to the City College of San Francisco for ideas.
CCSF has designed a program that targets homeless students and students who are considered at risk. The program, HARTS, includes financial aid, food vouchers and resources linking the college to the broader community.
A program like that would serve to help homeless students who struggle to find places to sleep and cannot afford to buy food on or around campus.
Staff at PCC should also look into reducing textbook costs, which have risen 1,041 percent since 1971, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
Textbook costs are a pain for any student, much less those who do not have the resources to afford them or safely store them. Professors should request that more of the required texts be put online where students can access them for free.
As awareness for homeless students grows, so too should PCC’s response to handle the situation.
All students are here to learn. Some may have homes, others don’t, but regardless of a student’s living situation, PCC should provide resources to ensure that everyone gets the most out of their education.