On Feb. 2, Delta College’s Board of Trustees held a meeting where they discussed the possibility of providing student housing for Delta students.
Colleges across the nation are dealing with the growth of student homelessness, which has been a main reason for the rise of college dropouts.
Delta President/Superintendent Dr. Omid Pourzanjani said, “As an education system, our focus is to educate.”
Pourzanjani and Delta’s Board of Trustees are on a mission to find a solution to this problem. They will no longer ignore one of the many problems that is possibly stopping a student’s success.
“The best way to move someone out of poverty is education. If they want to improve their lives, we should do everything to help them,” Pourzanjani said.
Pourzanjani wants to solve the issue “…at a scale.”
Twenty-five percent of college students in America alone are finding themselves crashing on different couches every night or outside in their parked cars. College of the Siskiyous in Weed is one of the few community colleges that provide housing for their students.
“Having students live on campus can help them focus on school in a different way than spreading out in various apartments and rental homes,” Siskiyous Director of Student Housing Douglas Haugen said.
But there are some obstacles in the way of this project.
“The obstacles are logistics, finances and politics,” Pourzanjani said.
But the main concern is financial. Students who are not applying or not finishing the process of financial aid make the solution to this problem even harder to find.
“We would have to ramp up students to fill out their financial aid,” Pourzanjani said.
Housing is, of course, not going to be free. The hope is that the community that surrounds Delta can help in the meantime while campus officials try to find a way to make student housing work.
“I think the community will support it. But will they allow it?” Pourzanjani said.
Besides the concerns of financial stability — some students have other concerns if housing was to be built on campus.
“There’s already random people coming onto campus and it probably wouldn’t be safe to live on campus,” Delta College student Adriana Sanchez said.
There are many obstacles and details to be worked out in order to begin the process.
“We need to know how many homeless students we have,” Pourzanjani said.
Pourzanjani is asking for full student body participation. A survey is being constructed to answer the question of how many homeless students the campus educates.
“The students need to fill out the survey,” Pourzanjani said.