2020 Community Impact Grant
Legal-name: Long Beach Community College District
Address: 1305 E. Pacific Coast Highway
City: Long Beach
Organizational-status: Educational Institution
Ranking-title: Lou Anne Bynum, Interim Superintendent-President
Contact-First-name: Justin Mendez
Title: Program Manager, Basic Needs
Tel: (562) 938-4756
Purpose: To ensure the educational success of homeless or housing-insecure students at Long Beach City College by providing basic needs support and service referrals.
Mission: Long Beach City College is committed to providing equitable student learning and achievement, academic excellence, and workforce development by delivering high-quality educational programs and support services to our diverse communities.
How-many-years: 1 year
How-many-individuals: 1451 students
What-is-project: With assistance from the Long Beach Community Foundation, The Basic Needs office of Long Beach City College (LBCC) will provide basic needs support and referrals to the College’s network of on-campus services to students experiencing homelessness or are at-risk for homelessness. The funding provided will be used to support the two most basic needs of our homeless students: food and housing. These direct supports will be provided in the form of bagged groceries and hotel vouchers. In a recent survey, 27% of LBCC students identified as housing insecure. While the recent COVID-19 crisis has increased number of students experiencing barriers to consistent housing, this issue is a consistent barrier for many college students, particularly those at community colleges. A study conducted by researchers at Temple University found that in 2017, 36% of university students were housing insecure compared to 51% of community college students. Furthermore, the study found that basic needs insecurities disproportionately affect marginalized students and are associated with long work hours and higher risk of unemployment. Despite this disparity, the level of academic rigor, both within and without the classroom, is the same regardless of their accessing to food and housing. It is therefore critical that colleges match students’ commitment with supportive services to ensure degree completion. By supporting homeless students’ basic needs, LBCC is removing a major barrier that prevents degree completion.
In addition to direct supports, the LBCC Basic Needs Office also provides referrals to supports within the College’s network of support services. These supports include student health, including mental health clinicians, academics, technology, and other specialized services such as those for foster youth. Through these referrals, LBCC can ensure that each student’s needs are met by experienced personnel and reduce duplication of services. While each and every student at LBCC benefits from the achievement of their academic goals, for homeless students, a degree represents their ability to provide a stable life for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, this accomplishment is much harder to obtain for homeless students than their peers with stable housing situations. With the support of the Long Beach Community Foundation, LBCC can level the playing field and help remove the most basic barriers faced by our more vulnerable students and ensure that all members of the LBCC community have the opportunity to improve their situation and achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals.
How-will-you-succeed: While overall success will be that homeless, at-risk, or housing insecure students continuing their education and achieving their individual academic goals, specific success metrics that directly relate to the work of the project are as follows:
-Increased number of students receiving case management support from LBCC Basic Needs Office Staff
-Increased number of students receiving grocery aid
-Increased number of students obtaining permanent and supportive housing
-Increased number of students accessing wrap-around services on and off campus
-Increased persistence for students accessing services (persistence is defined as a student returning in the subsequent semester and enrolling in coursework)
The results of this project will be disseminated through the College’s internal and external channels of communication, which includes the LBCC website. Information will also be shared with community partners and the extended LBCC constituency to promote awareness of both the program and the results achieved by the College and its partners.
LBCC is deeply invested in the well-being of its most vulnerable students. In addition to the establishment of the Basic Needs Office, the College has developed a holistic network of support services to ensure that no student leaves due to barriers over which they have no control. This network of support services includes departments and offices within the College as well as external partners. Recently LBCC was one of fourteen colleges that received funding from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office as part of their pilot program to help homeless and housing insecure students find reliable shelter. While this funding will allow the college to support many students, there are still additional students who are homeless or at-risk for homelessness. Funding from the Long Beach Community Foundation would help support students who fall outside the scope of the Chancellor’s pilot program but are still in need of support.
In addition to other student support services and programs within the College, LBCC’s Basic Needs Office also collaborates with several service providers within Long Beach to ensure that students receive the support they need. Local community partners include Jovenes, which provides direct housing support with rental subsidies and housing placement, Harbor Interfaith Services, which follows up with case management and additional housing resources, and Hampton & Homewood Suites, which provides short- and mid-term temporary housing while LBCC provides students with additional referrals to permanent housing resources. A grant from the Community Impact Fund would be used to expand the number of students who can receive aid from these established and sustainable services and partnerships.
Who-are-you: Long Beach City College’s mission is to provide equitable student learning and achievement, academic excellence, and workforce development by delivering high quality educational programs and support services to our diverse communities. In order to do so, the College has created academic programs as well as a network of student support services to ensure that all students are able to pursue their education regardless of race, gender, orientation, economic, or legal status. Founded in 1927, the College has a rich history of utilizing education and partnerships to break down barriers for students and is a founding member of The College Promise, which provides tuition assistance and educational supports for Long Beach Students and has served as a model for state-wide college access initiatives.
As a community college, LBCC is an ideal institution to meet the educational needs of homeless and at-risk of homeless students. As an institution of higher education whose current population is comprised of 72% low income students, the College is experienced in holistically ensuring the academic success of vulnerable students. In response to the rising number of students experiencing housing and food insecurity, LBCC established the Basic Needs Office. In addition to providing direct services, the Basic Needs Office also refers students to internal and external partners in order to ensure that a student’s success is determined by their dedication and not the barriers they face.
In order to fight the issue of food insecurity, which is often experienced hand-in-hand with homelessness, there are several program and partnerships available to support students. One of the main programs the Office operates are food pantries at both of the College’s two campuses called the Viking Vaults. These pantries are accessed more than 150 times per week by students struggling with food insecurity. LBCC partners with US Foods and LA Foodbank who provide weekly deliveries of primarily non-perishable food items. During quarantine the Viking Vaults have adapted to create “grab and go” grocery bags distributed to students at predetermined drive-through events to ensure safety of staff and students.
Another vital service provided by the basic needs office is direct aid and service referrals for homeless and at-risk students. As previously mentioned, LBCC provides direct aid to students so that they are able to obtain temporary/transitional housing at reduced rates with community partners. The College also refers students to community service providers specializing in the support of homeless individuals such as Jovenes and Harbor Interfaith Services.
Support for Long Beach City College’s basic needs is an investment in an institution that has the experience to impact students struggling with homelessness. By removing a student’s anxiety of where they will sleep or where their next meal will come from, LBCC provides vulnerable students a chance at success.