A statewide survey released Thursday by researchers at Temple University found that roughly a fifth of community college students in San Diego faced housing instability last year and between one-third and one- half faced food insecurity.
The survey found that 21 percent of San Diego City College students dealt with housing instability while 18 percent of Mesa College students identified as homeless. San Diego Miramar College and San Diego Continuing Education both had self-identified homeless populations totaling 17 percent. Those figures all increased at least 6 percent over each college’s 2017 numbers. The state’s average sat at 19 percent.
The survey also found that 52 percent of City College students, 47 percent of Mesa College students, 41 percent of Miramar College students and 33 percent of Continuing Education students dealt with food insecurity or uncertainty. Across the state, 50 percent of community college students faced food access and affordability issues.
Temple’s Hope Center surveyed roughly half of the state’s community colleges last year to collect data for the study. Mesa College President Pamela Luster joined state officials and Hope Center representatives to release the survey’s results at the State Capitol Thursday afternoon.
The solutions to food and housing insecurity issues, Luster said, “lie in more resources to students (fixing financial aid), creating better connections to city, county and state resources for our students, providing emergency funding and change through legislation and state restrictions on providing housing for community college students.”
Statewide, 50 percent of community college students experienced food insecurity within 30 days prior to the survey, 60 percent experienced housing issues in the last year and 19 percent became homeless at some point in the previous year.
The San Diego Community College District serves about 100,000 students each year.
“District representatives are closely reviewing the findings and working with colleagues locally and statewide to identify resources to assist students,” the district said in a statement. “In response to the previous surveys, the district’s colleges and Continuing Education have each established food and clothing pantries, sponsored farmers markets where students receive fresh produce at no cost, and work with community partners to address students’ basic needs.”
–City News Service