Board Editorial: Homeless sleeping bill a good start

Story by Steven Matthews

Potential area for homeless students to sleep overnight in their cars. Photo by Jorge Hernandez.

Bill AB-302, a bill that would allow homeless students to sleep in their cars overnight on campus, is still in committee at the state level and even though it has not passed yet, it has already sparked a debate on campus.

If it passes, it will have an immediate and positive impact for the school and its students upon implementation.

Students that are homeless face many difficulties in their day to day lives that make it challenging to be successful when facing a difficult school curriculum.

For one, when a student doesn’t have a steady place to sleep, they’re faced with tough decisions on where to sleep, and how safe it might be.

In addition to that, without consistent access to a restroom,or bathing facilities, those students also have to deal with issues of sanitation.

With AB-302, those problems that our enrolled homeless students face could be alleviated enough for them to focus properly on their studies.

As long as the state assembly is diligent in providing the necessary funds for the upgrades and manpower that is needed to ensure the safety and sanitation needs of the students, our school should have no problem providing the necessary amenities.

For example, we have a large parking lot that is underutilized near Veterans stadium that would be perfect for our homeless students to park overnight.

Concerning safety, that area is relatively secure with controlled entrances and exits, and it’s near Public Safety.

Personal hygiene is an issue that was already addressed in 2016 with AB-1995, a law that stipulates that homeless students have access to shower facilities.

With LBCC, the policy for the school is that any student that needs a shower can go use the shower facilities on campus, as long as it’s within operational hours.

According to Stacy Toda, the associate director of public relations for LBCC, those hours are from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the men and women’s locker rooms at LAC, or from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to noon on Tuesday and Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday at the Fitness Center at PCC.

The bottom line is, if the law passes, LBCC has the space and facilities to implement it rather easily, and upon that, students who may feel left behind because of their homeless status will have the tools to help themselves achieve the level of normalcy needed in that aspect of their lives, so they can dedicate the time needed for their studies.