Geoff Green, Chief Executive Officer for the SBCC Foundation, brought his solutions for Santa Barbara’s growing housing insecurity crisis to the Student Senate Friday.
In an interview with The Channels, Green said historically City College has not provided housing for its students.
“Community colleges have been considered to be resources for the immediate regional community,” he said.
The SBCC Foundation is a nonprofit organization that “bridges the gap between available public funding and institutional need gives,” according to its website. Green said that is what he aims to do for housing insecurity.
Green said the foundation has given $1.1 million in scholarships to City College students every year through the support of community members and local businesses.
He also said the foundation will be doing a formal study on housing insecure, looking specifically at whether or not students have stable, affordable and safe housing.
Student Senate President Josh Villanueva, who also serves on the foundation’s board, told The Channels in an outside interview that he felt the Board of Trustees has not done enough for the housing insecure students on campus.
“Students can take showers on our campus now and they have access to free food on our campus now,” he said. “It just comes down to our leaders on our campus recognizing that.”
Green said that the information from the study could provide several more ways to provide student housing. He said existing housing could be dedicated to students or the district could “master lease” a multiunit property to students.
“I believe there really are creative ways to leverage affordable housing opportunities and resources,” he said. “There’s a lot of shades of grey in there.”
Green said he hopes low income students can have housing that is “affordable and relative to the market rate.”
He said it can be done through the federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, or the foundation could partner with the Financial Aid office.
“One way or another we’ll find a way to create some sort of student housing,” he said.
Green said he will be presenting the research proposal at the March 28 Board of Trustees meeting.
The Student Senate will reconvene at their next meeting on March 22.