Editor’s Note: This news release was sent to the media on November 4, 2019
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Public, Private Partners Vow to House 100 Homeless College Students in 100 Days
San Jose, Calif. –Santa Clara County stakeholders join the national call to action as leaders from Bill Wilson Center, San Jose State University, West Valley-Mission Community College District, and County of Santa Clara Supervisor Susan Ellenberg come together to tackle college student homelessness through the 100-Day Challenge.
“The 100-Day Challenge focuses our community to step up and house the increasing number of homeless college students in Silicon Valley,” said Sparky Harland, Bill Wilson Center CEO.
The goal of this effort is to house 100 college students experiencing homelessness in 100 days by working with a multitude of stakeholders and service providers to connect students with available resources.
Along with Bill Wilson Center, the County of Santa Clara’s District 4, West Valley-Mission Community College District, San Jose State University, County Office of Supportive Housing, Community Solutions, and Foothill College will also be collaborating to house these college students.
“No student should live in a car, on someone’s couch, or under an overpass, especially when they’re working toward their dreams and careers,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “I am proud to see all these stakeholders step up and come together to put these students first and find them stable housing.”
“Homelessness is a regional challenge shared by the entire Bay Area, one that cries out for meaningful solutions,” said Mary A. Papazian, President of San Jose State University. “Long-term answers can only emerge through joint efforts between government, civic organization and the broader community, and the 100 Day Challenge checks all the right boxes. At SJSU, addressing student housing is a critical part of meeting our students’ overall basic needs, so we are pleased to be part of this important initiative.”
Along with the kick-off of the 100-Day Challenge, the County is proclaiming the month of November as “National Homeless Youth Awareness Month” in the County of Santa Clara and Bill Wilson Center is unveiling a new report focused on homeless youth in Santa Clara County.
According to the 2019 Homeless Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, 22% of the homeless respondents (ages 18-25) are currently enrolled in college. Of those currently experiencing homelessness, 14% of respondents noted they are living outside and 10% are living in their car.
“For a growing number of students in Santa Clara County, housing insecurity presents the largest obstacle to higher education,” said Brad Davis, West Valley-Mission Community College District Chancellor. “Our county is blessed with outstanding educators across the entire continuum of public and private education, but as rents climb to an all-time high our students are increasingly priced out of higher education, not by tuition and fees, but because they must choose between a roof over their head today or career tomorrow.”
About Santa Clara County
The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, the sixth-largest county in California. With more than 70 agencies/departments and nearly 22,000 employees, the County of Santa Clara plans for the needs of a dynamic community, offers quality services, and promotes a healthy, safe and prosperous community for all. The County provides essential services including public health and environmental protection, medical services through Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) hospitals and clinics, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, parks, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and scores of other services, particularly for those members of our community in the greatest need. Visit us at: http://www.sccgov.org
About Bill Wilson Center
Bill Wilson Center is a nationally and regionally recognized leader for providing services to at-risk, homeless youth and families. More than 4,100 children, youth, young adults and families in Santa Clara County are directly serviced with another 30,000 clients assisted by BWC’s street outreach and crisis line programs. BWC provides services that meet the cultural and linguistic needs of our whole community. We value our unique ethnic diversity as well as the LGBTQ community and non-able community. BWC is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA).