Giving Compass' Take:

• With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, more homeless students will become economically vulnerable and have limited access to support services. 

• What can colleges do during the pandemic to keep supporting their most vulnerable students? What support services still exist for homeless college students? 

• Learn more about the struggles for homeless students during COVID-19. 

Every day, as president of the student body at Los Angeles City College, I work to help peers who are facing hunger and homelessness. As of now, my school and the Los Angeles Community College District are not laying off any student workers, but our situation is fluid and could resemble the situation that many other students are facing around the state and country. And little can prepare our campus for the devastating impacts of the coronavirus, including closing off vital on-campus services and laying off students from campus jobs. If we want students to survive this crisis, let alone succeed in college, we need colleges and their presidents to step up right now.

Before the coronavirus, students at Los Angeles City College were struggling. One in five students in our district experienced homelessness in the last year, and nearly two-thirds faced food insecurity. While I am constantly directing students to our on-campus resources — including a pop-up food pantry as well as opportunities for students to receive hot meals and financial support — these issues are also personal for me.

Last year, despite being a lifelong resident of Inglewood, I was on the brink of losing my housing because of skyrocketing rents in our neighborhood. I was effectively priced out of the place I have lived for the last five years and subsequently moved in with my father. Many students like me were already living paycheck to paycheck, but cutting off our jobs and the ability to access resources has left us stranded.

This reality is why for the last nine months I have been petitioning my college to offer emergency shelter for students who are experiencing homelessness.

The coronavirus makes this even more urgent because students are more vulnerable economically than ever before.

Read the full article about homeless college students by Jemere Calhoun at The Hechinger Report.