The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The Basic Needs Center provides health resources for all students

Dakota Carberry grabs meals from the food pantry on Feb. 14, 2024 at the Basic Needs Center at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. “they are very useful when it comes to food, especially these little hot meals… aswell as other resources that they have” Carberry said.

Tucked away in the agriculture area of City College, there is a small building that does an exceeding amount of work for students, faculty, and the community. The Basic Needs Center started off as a food pantry in 2017 and has grown incrementally since then. Today, it is a fully functioning business with many different resourceful branches, including food distribution, housing opportunities, and resources that primarily focus on the in-need or unhoused population at the City College. 

The advisor of the center, Alondra Lazaro Gonsalez, takes charge of all the resources that the center provides. This year, Gonzalez has added services and began to advertise existing resources geared towards the unhoused students on campus. 

“In thinking of students that are facing different hardships than other folks, we have to have different services that cater to them,” Gonzalez stated. 

A resource that the organization provides has been around for quite a while; the use of a hot shower on campus. As a community college, by law, there must be shower facilities for students. “The student doesn’t need to sign up or submit any form to take advantage of that resource”,  Gonzalez said when explaining the process of getting a hot shower, “They just come in and let us know they are interested in the hot shower program, and we give them a referral form and a temporary locker and walk them over there.” 

The resource is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and closed on weekends. Most of the center’s resources that are provided are geared towards unhoused students.

“When you’re talking about housing insecurity, you are also talking about food insecurity, mental health insecurity, and if you have health insurance to seek out helpful services,” Gonzalez said. “A lot of the help the center provides is supporting students in making sure that if they put them on a path, that students will be able to sustain themselves in paying for those needs after they receive help.” 

Another resource that people on campus can gain access to is emergency aid. This is specific for those who face financial hardships that affect their success at City College, and it aims to help alleviate some of the stressors that come with it. 

“To be eligible for this it can mean different things; you could be driving to school and get a flat tire, that would impede your success to be here, so, of course, we can cover that tire change if an invoice is provided,” Gonzalez said.

In the event that one may need emergency aid, students must write a detailed report of the emergency, and a committee will go over it to decide if the emergency should be covered. This is not an unlimited money source, students only have $1000 to be given in their lifetime provided by City College.

The newest form of aid added to the Basic Needs Center is a program called TBH. The program shows what resources are available to students given their specific circumstances. Students are asked to fill out a form called a “benefit screener” and then will need to schedule a time to meet with a SBCC Basic Needs Care Navigator.     

“It caters to every student’s needs, and you don’t have to come talk to me,” Gonzalez said. “I’ll send you a text message or you can go into your TBH account and you’ll see that Alondra picked up your case and I’ll assign you someone to talk to moving forward.” 

The Basic Needs Center is open on campus from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and available for remote services on Fridays.

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