LACCD Releases Student Homelessness and Hunger Report

Students Myriah Smiley, 19, and Norma Castillo, 32, break down at the podium during a press conference at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Photo by Keyang Pang

LOS ANGELES—At a press conference at L.A. Trade-Technical College, the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) today released a far-reaching report that shows more than 60% of student respondents experience food insecurity while more than 18% of students are homeless in the past year. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors, in its work to eliminate homelessness, has committed to working with LACCD on tackling an issue that prevents students from fully achieving their educational goals in the community college system.

“LACCD has a responsibility to not only educate its students, but to ensure that our students are in the best possible position to receive quality education without being hungry in our classrooms,” said Scott Svonkin, President of the LACCD Board of Trustees. “We want to thank Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas for his leadership and for amplifying the light on the many challenges some students at LACCD face.”

The report and its recommendations provide fresh impetus for LACCD and its partners to move forward in finding creative solutions to challenges faced by many LACCD students. Specific recommendations laid out in the report include: trainings and workshops for faculty, staff, and administrators to increase awareness of student needs; expanded efforts to assist students in gaining access to federal and state financial aid; and increasing collaboration with local housing resources to improve student access to existing housing programs.

LACCD Trustee Mike Eng. Photo by Keyang Pang

“We commissioned this report to understand the broader issues of homelessness and hunger that our students must overcome to achieve their educational goals. By acting on the recommendations contained in the report, we can ensure that our students have the opportunity to succeed without the burden of food insecurity and the stress of homelessness,” said LACCD Trustee Mike Eng.

A critical component to realizing the recommendations contained in the report is the continued support of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and agencies like the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Reducing incidents of homelessness and food insecurity is vital to educational attainment.

“Education is the great equalizer in our society, and we must do all that we can to ensure that students in the LACCD system are able to undertake their studies without worrying about having a roof over their heads or enough food to eat,” said LA County Supervisor and Board Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas. “By expanding our partnerships with local community colleges, we know that the students attending these great schools will succeed in their efforts.”