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Bakersfield College now considering property for homeless students

Posted at 3:45 PM, Nov 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-14 21:37:21-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Following a unanimous vote, the Kern County Housing Authority will now be able to pursue funding to help build and operate a new housing facility directly across the street from Bakersfield College.

If approved, BC said the facility would serve homeless and low income students.

"About 932 students self reported being homeless, so again that indicates the need that we have to provide affordable housing in this community especially for our student population," Bakersfield College Director of Communications, Norma Rojas-Mora said.

According to Rojas, the Kern County Housing Authority approached Bakersfield College officials about leasing a property directly across the street from campus on Mount Vernon Avenue for a new low-income housing facility strictly for students.

"Students that are receiving TANF assistance which is temporary aid for needy families, homeless students, students who were formally in the foster care system, students with dependent children, [can apply to be housed in the facility],"Rojas said.

All students who want to apply will have to meet an income requirement set forth by the housing authority.

The housing authority will be in charge of building, operating and managing the facility as well as working with the city to get one million dollars in funding for the project according to the Kern Community College District Board agenda.

Students told 23ABC News, the facility would be a positive addition, as long as it's just for students who are facing financial insecurities.

"The student debt crisis is also on the rise so being able to offer homeless students a place to live as they continue their higher education is definitely a plus in my book," Bakersfield College student, Cody White said.

Plans for the facility are still being outlined in terms of capacity and model.

However, now that the board of trustees has agreed to allow the housing authority to find sources for funding with their signature further discussion will take place about Bakersfield College leasing their property to help address the homeless student issue and study it further.

"I think it's really exciting and it will allow us to potentially pilot something different," Rojas said.

It is still unclear whether or not Bakersfield College will lease or sell the property to the housing authority or when the facility will officially open.