Today is a big day at Cerritos College. The college will celebrate the opening of The Village, California’s first community college housing exclusively for students facing homelessness.
The project is the realization of an initiative begun by nonprofit Jovenes, Inc. in 2016 to partner with community colleges to house students. The partnership is “an investment in the long-term success of students on all levels, according to an article in the college’s InSight magazine.
For the last three years, Jovenes, Inc. staff have been on Cerritos College’s campus to connect homeless students with housing support in the community. Typically, students were provided with rental subsidies that allowed them to move into apartments close to campus and receive financial support, as well as social and academic services.
The Village takes the partnership further. Jovenes, Inc. will screen eligible students and provide day-to-day management, as well as give students resources to help them leave homelessness behind and reach their educational goals.
Cerritos also has been collaborating since 2019 with The City of Norwalk, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn (2nd District) and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to establish this transitional student housing development.
The Village consists of seven townhomes is located just a few blocks from campus. It can house up to 28 students between ages 18-25.
According to the 2019 #RealCollege survey report from the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, nearly one in five community college students in California experience homelessness. And 55 percent of respondents are housing insecure and had difficulty paying rent or a mortgage.