The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Homeless Students in California

Apr 15, 2019

The California State Assembly is currently negotiating a measure, called The Safe Lots bill, requiring community colleges to grant overnight access to campus parking lots for homeless students to sleep in their vehicles. This is another admission that one of the richest places on earth, California, has a huge homelessness problem.

In California, 19 percent of college students experienced homelessness in 2018, according to a survey conducted by the colleges. Considering that California’s community college population is around 2.1 million students attending classes on 114 campuses, this means that nearly 400,000 students have experienced homelessness in the last year. The homelessness varies from region to region, hitting the low income areas harder. A survey found that 84 percent of students in the Bay Area’s Peralta Community College District were either homeless or facing housing insecurity.

“I spent about two years homeless, as a full-time worker and full-time student, with my car as my only consistent place to sleep in,” said Matthew Bodo, a student at Foothill College, according to the news.

The main reasons for the homelessness are low wages and very high housing costs. As for the young people, high unemployment and poverty are additional reasons further deepening the homelessness. The unemployment, as measured by the labor participation rate for the age group of 16 to 24 years, increased by 13 percent in 2019. The poverty rate for those 18 to 24 years of age reached 16 percent in 2017.

Homelessness is caused by how this capitalist system operates. So, these politicians are only pretending to address this dire social issue by issuing this or that worthless bill. They support these bills with empty talk that only admits what is already occurring in practice on campus parking lots, instead of coming up with a real solution.