LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Long Beach City College is kicking off a one-of-a-kind program that lets homeless students spend the night in their cars safely on campus.
The Safe Parking pilot program is for students enrolled at LBCC and allows them to sleep inside their vehicles overnight at the Pacific Coast Campus parking lot.
The lot will be monitored by security and will be open seven nights a week between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
The students will have access to Wi-Fi, restrooms, and will have access to showers at the Pacific Coast campus from 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. every day.
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"Our goal for this program is that it will serve as a pathway to housing stability for our students," said LBCCD Board of Trustees President Uduak-Joe Ntuk. "These students would otherwise have to be worrying nightly about their vehicles being broken into, trying not to be seen or bothered, and not having the police called on them, all while keeping up with their coursework. It could be an exhausting situation that makes it more difficult to get ahead."
LBCC students must be independent with no spouses, partners, or children sleeping in the vehicle with them. Service and emotional support animals are allowed if proper documentation is provided.
"The unfortunate truth is that LBCC has close to 70 students sleeping in their cars each night -quite possibly more," said Long Beach Community College District (LBCCD) Interim Superintendent-President Dr. Mike Muñoz. "If we can help to keep our students safe so they can better focus on their student responsibilities, this program is absolutely worth pursuing. Our goal at LBCC is always to remove barriers that get in the way of our student's success."
Students participating in the program will also be assisted by staff in order to find more long-term and stable housing.
"LBCC demonstrates incredible leadership in positively impacting their students who are unhoused by understanding that access to stable housing touches all aspects of their life," said Silvia Gutierrez, Safe Parking LA executive director.
The program is slated to last until June 30, 2022.