By Grace Ramsey
Bills, work, kids, keeping up with due dates for classes, putting food on the table and on top of that keeping your house. Homelessness can happen to anyone, it doesn’t discriminate not even if you’re a student. It’s an epidemic that is affecting nearly 3.5 million young adults across the country in this past year, according to a survey done by researchers at the University of Chicago.
Not many schools have programs to help students in a housing crisis. Only about 400 out of 4,706 college and universities are stepping up and implementing programs for this crisis, according to the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth. Las Positas is apart of that 400 now, calWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids) specifically is holding a housing workshop to bridge the gap for students struggling with housing crisis.
CalWORKs is a state program that provides assistance through cash and other resources to families with children who are in need. Las Positas’s program helps further their students educationally and financially by providing resources such as career counseling, academic advising, referrals to college, transportation resources and many others.
Kylie Zieker is a student assistant for the calWORKs program at LPC, she also is one of the reasons this housing workshop is coming on campus. Zieker was one of many unfortunate students who had to deal with being homeless. During the time where she was dealing with her housing crisis she also had her kids to care for. Zeiker says “I have a lot of passion, I went from being homeless and a mom to not being homeless. It was hard. So helping people like this is a big passion of mine.”
After seeing how many people needed the same help Zieker received, Zieker along with her colleagues in the calWORKs office, Amanda Ingold and Danielle Donohoe realized that their was something missing and something needed to be done. Thus, the Housing Resource Workshop was born. The idea was conceived in December of last year and they’ve been working on it since classes resumed in January. Now finally on Friday March 23 all of their hard work will be revealed.
This event will be held on campus in building 1600 downstairs in room 1602 from 12 noon to 2 pm. There will be guest speakers from Echo housing, a program dedicated to preventing homelessness, provide support for the homeless, equal access in housing and advocate for permanent living conditions. Zieker says “Its hard to get information on your own because people bounce you around to other places. We are trying to get direct contacts that can tell us about their program directly and answer questions for students.”
Along with guest speakers, calWORKs has put together resource packets that will be given at the event. These packets will include waitlists that people with housing crisis’s can get on, pamphlets and guides on what places offer low-income housing.
Homelessness is an epidemic but calWORKs is taking the steps to combat displaced students, building more awareness around our school and support the students who are being displaced.