Homelessness and Housing Insecurity Amidst Community College Students

Students enrolled in community colleges across California are unable to meet their basic needs and face homelessness and housing insecurity as a result of environmental factors that have a negative impact on academic performance. 

According to the Community College League of California, 58 percent of community college students are experiencing housing insecurity. Environmental factors such as increased rent or mortgage payments and the inability to cover housing expenses contribute to housing insecurity. 

For example, 34 percent of students reported facing higher rents, while 29% struggled with the inability to pay rent or mortgage. 

Additionally, the geographical distribution of housing insecurity demonstrates its prevalence, ranging from 54% in certain areas in the East Bay to as high as 61% in places in the Inland Empire. 

Moreover, 24 percent of community college students have experienced homelessness. Homelessness appeared in various forms, including couch-surfing, staying in hotels or motels, and even inhabiting spaces not meant for human habitation. 

Homelessness rates varied from 21% in the San Diego/Imperial area to 29% in the South Central Coast region. Compared to the statewide average of 24%, homelessness rates at community colleges vary from 13% to 69%, highlighting the critical need for specific actions and support services. 

Furthermore, there’s a concerning pattern regarding the intersectionality of race, age, and sexuality. Students who identify as LGBTQ+, African American/Black, or American Indian/Alaskan Native have disproportionately high levels of basic needs insecurity. 

Additionally, students aged 21–30 experience the highest rates of such insecurities compared to their younger and older counterparts. 

These statistics underscore the urgency for targeted interventions and resources to address the unique challenges faced by students in community colleges. By addressing the intersectionality of race, age, and sexuality in providing support services, colleges can work towards creating a more equitable and inclusive environment for all students.

Reference: e_students-final-2023.pdf

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