In the new episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” CalMatters’ Manuela Tobias and the Los Angeles Times’ Liam Dillon break down how California’s housing shortage drives some college students into homelessness.
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California has long held the crown jewel of public higher education, but the high cost of housing is pushing that jewel farther out of reach for low-income students.
A recent survey found student homelessness ranges from 5% to 20% across California’s public colleges and universities, which equates to potentially hundreds of thousands of homeless students.
The problem is rooted in the state’s wider housing shortage, which has already made rents in most cities unaffordable for many people with full-time jobs. Campus housing can offer a more affordable option for college students, but there simply isn’t enough of it. Across the University of California system, 9,400 students were denied university housing this fall because of shortages. While colleges have long faced pressure from lawmakers to expand enrollment, similar pressure and resources to expand affordable housing options for students is a much more recent phenomenon.
The housing crisis has driven students to extremes. Matthew Chin, a third-year student at UC Santa Cruz, couldn’t afford the $1,200-plus monthly rent required for a shared dorm on campus, so his family bought him a used trailer instead. He is now paying $750 a month to rent a driveway outside of campus in which to park his small home. Before getting a car, Chin had to take two buses to get to class, and on some nights, slept in his sleeping bag on campus.
“There was lots of stress because you’re not thinking of school — you’re thinking, ‘How am I getting by on the day-to-day basis?’ ” Chin said.
On the latest episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” housing reporters Liam Dillon from the Los Angeles Times and Manuela Tobias at CalMatters break down how we got here and interview Chin about his housing situation.