Los Angeles County College Student Homelessness
According to the #RealCollege survey of 40,000 California community college students, one in five community college students are homeless, and more than half of students are housing insecure. This is an alarming statistic since housing insecurity undermines academic success. When students face housing insecurity or homelessness, they are more likely to earn grades of C or lower than students who do not have housing problems. These students also face higher rates of depression, stress, and poor health, according to the survey.
Rates of housing insecurity are higher for students from marginalized communities; e.g., students of color, students identifying as LGBTQ, and students who identify as financially independent from their parents or guardians for financial aid purposes. Unfortunately, working during college is not associated with higher rates of housing security for marginalized students.
Housing Insecurity and Homelessness
Housing insecurity and homelessness is one of the biggest issues facing college campuses across the state of California. But, how do you define these issues?
What is college student housing insecurity?
Housing insecurity includes a broad spectrum of challenges such as the inability to pay rent or utilities or the need to move frequently.
According to the survey, the most commonly reported housing-related challenges facing students include:
Rent or mortgage increases making it hard to pay (32%),
Not being able to pay the full cost of utilities (28%),
Not being able to pay the total cost of rent (28%),
Moving in with people due to financial problems (25%),
Living with more people than authorized by the lease (21%),
Having an account default or go into collections (18%),
Leaving household because it felt unsafe (9%),
Moving more than three times (5%), and
Receiving a summons to appear in housing court (2%).
What is college student homelessness?
Homelessness means that a student does not have a stable place to live. Most students experiencing homelessness do not self-identify as homeless as they temporarily find housing with relatives and friends.
Some of the most common locations that students who experience homelessness stay overnight are:
Temporarily with a relative, friend, or couch surfing;
Briefly at a hotel or motel without a permanent home to return to;
In closed areas or spaces with a roof not meant for human habitation;
At an outdoor location;
In transitional housing or independent living;
In a camper;
At a treatment center; or
At a shelter or a group home such as a halfway house or residential program for mental health or substance abuse.
How Attorneys Can Help College Student Homelessness
If you are a college student experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness, an experienced tenants' rights lawyer in the Los Angeles area can help you navigate complicated legal issues that are hard to handle on your own. Tenants' rights lawyers help struggling students get back on their feet and find a stable place to live by fighting for them in court when they have fled a violent home or provide legal expertise in getting governmental benefits.