SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) released the following statement in response to Assembly Bill 302 passing out of the Assembly today with bipartisan support. Championed by Berman and sponsored by the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, the bill would require community colleges to grant overnight access to campus parking facilities for homeless students to sleep in their vehicles.
“Student homelessness has reached a crisis point across California, and the safety of our students warrants immediate attention,” said Assemblymember Berman. “While we work towards the long term solution of building more housing, this is a significant step we can take to ensure that the tens of thousands of homeless students living out of their cars have a safe place to sleep at night.”
A recent report released by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, which surveyed nearly 40,000 students at 57 community colleges, found that 19% of respondents experienced homelessness in the previous year. Extrapolated to California’s community college population of 2.1 million students that means nearly 400,000 students have experienced homelessness in the last year.
Assembly Bill 302 would require community colleges to grant overnight access to campus parking facilities to any homeless student that is enrolled in coursework, has paid enrollment fees if not waived, and is in good standing with the community college, without requiring the student to enroll in additional courses. The governing board of each community college would be required to develop an implementation plan that includes, in part, an overnight parking form and liability waiver, designation of a specific parking area or areas, accessible bathroom facilities, hours of operation, and overnight parking rules. Further, AB 302 importantly specifies that it is the intent of the Legislature that homeless students who use the overnight parking facilities shall be connected to available state, county, community college district, and community-based housing, food, and financial assistance resources.
The bill previously passed out of the Assembly Higher Education Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The bill now heads to the Senate.
Assembly Bill 302 is also supported by the Alliance for a Better Community, Alliance for Children’s Rights, California Faculty Association, California School Employees Association, California YIMBY, Dreams for Change, Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, Homeless United Huntington Beach, LifeMoves, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter, NextGen California, Safe Parking LA, South Bay YIMBY, and Western Center on Law & Poverty.