More housing at UCB NOW!
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Since the moment Carol Christ, our current Chancellor, entered office, she has repeatedly, publicly declared that “the housing crisis is the most pressing issue of our time.” Carol’s Housing Task Force Report included that the housing crisis has resulted in “negative student outcomes--reduced student engagement, lower student persistence, and a longer time to degree, along with isolation and resulting adverse consequences.” She is aware of the statistics, and she has heard the experiences of students facing these “adverse consequences.” 10% of students self-identified as having experienced homelessness at some point since arriving at UC Berkeley; students are couch-surfing, sleeping in libraries, in vehicles, in shelters. This crisis not only demands that housing is built immediately, but emergency solutions targeted at the students that need it the most.
After studying the housing crisis and brainstorming policy solutions for the past 4 years, UC Berkeley’s Homeless Student Union, in collaboration with other student leaders and groups, has come to three primary demands. The below action items are significant steps to alleviating the most dire consequences of the housing crisis, including housing insecurity and homelessness.
1. Immediately begin construction of the ~1500 remaining beds the university committed to building in the 2020 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP).
We need to hold the University accountable for refusing to follow its OWN plans to build housing, or provide a timeline for construction, even after acknowledging the detriment of the housing crisis.
2. Use the $3,000,000 Housing Assistance Allocation from the UC Office of the President to house and support our homeless students.
After receiving $3M from the office of the president for “housing assistance,” intended to alleviate dire consequences of the housing crisis, the UCB administration proposed we spend more than half of it on outside entities to formulate a new Long Range Development Plan, (as stated above, they’re currently not even in compliance with their last one.) This DOES NOT fund housing or construction, but merely an excessively long report with their “plans.” We have a thorough recommendation for the expenditure of these funds that can be seen in our letter, but primarily we recommend that it be used to pay costs of off-campus living for those with financial aid, and for emergency housing.
3. Utilize the currently vacant University House (the Chancellor’s Mansion) as affordable student housing, particularly with priority for previously or currently homeless students.
!!!Turn the chancellor’s mansion into a co-op for homeless students!!!!!!
Given that 10% of students will experience, have experienced or are currently experiencing homelessness during their time at UC Berkeley, it is negligent to leave a building, which could be used to house students, vacant. There are many alternative spaces available for the events that are currently being held at the University House, such as Anna Head Alumnae Hall and The Faculty Club. Therefore, we see it as logical and necessary that the University House be utilized to offer affordable housing for homeless or previously homeless students.
Homeless Student Union, with support and signatures of endorsement from the ASUC President, numerous ASUC Senators and student groups, sent a letter with the above demands, and further elaboration. This letter can be found here:
In response to our letter, Carol deflected each demand, thanking us for our creative ideas while blatantly ignoring them.
Please sign our petition to show your support for our demands, and ensure that Carol Christ and the University of California, Berkeley are held accountable to their promises.
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