By Community Member Phil Baca
In June of this year, Long Beach City College received an “unrestricted donation” of $30 million, from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This was the largest donation in the school’s history.
LBCC has stated in it’s own press release about the donation that the funds will be used to “prioritize” initiatives that:
• Improve student academic outcomes by addressing racial equity gaps
• Engage in race-conscious and equity-minded practices that promote an inclusive and affirming campus environment
• Increase holistic support services for our most vulnerable students
On November 1st, the Long Beach Post published an article explaining LBCC’s new “safe parking” pilot program. This program allows students who are currently living in their cars, to bring their car to a parking lot if: “the student experiencing homelessness must be currently enrolled and cannot have a spouse, partner or children with them in the vehicle but documented emotional support and service animals will be accepted.”
The program will provide access to Wi-Fi, ADA accessibility, and access to showers from 6-8AM.
In the same article from the Long Beach Post, LBCC acknowledges that the school is aware of “close to 70 students sleeping in their cars each night and quite possibly more”.
LBCC also acknowledges in the article that they have at least 199 confirmed students currently experiencing homelessness. The school also states that they estimate about 10% of the school’s students are homeless.
The most recent data published on LBCC’s enrollment is from the 2018-2019 school year that had 22,784 undergrad students. Using 10% of that number would be roughly 2,278 students experiencing homelessness.
According to the school there has been an unspecified “dip” in enrollment because of the pandemic.
The Long Beach Post made absolutely no mention of the recent $30 million donation in their article about LBCC’s “safe parking” pilot program.
The article does include the fact that in the most recent California statewide budget, $100 million was given to community colleges in California to “help homelessness and food insecure students”. LBCC started the “Viking Vault” which is “a food pantry that provides unlimited free groceries to enrolled students, as well as working to connect homeless students to housing.” How the Viking Vault actually connect homeless students to housing is unspecified in the Long Beach Post article.
Last year Cerritos College spent $4 million to create the “Village at Cerritos College” which provides housing for 28 of the school’s most vulnerable students that are experiencing homelessness, according to the same article.
LBCC has not claimed to be using any of the $30 million donation for the “safe parking” program.