Proposed Bill Would Let Homeless Community College Students Sleep in School Parking Lots

SACRAMENTO -- There's a new effort that would help address one immediate need many homeless college students have -- a safe place to sleep.

These days Vanacy Thompson keeps busy during her shifts at the American River College Library.

She told FOX40 balancing school and a job is easier now. This year she has a place to sleep at night.

"No home. No transportation, how can I get to my school? How can I thrive?" Thompson said.

Not long ago Thompson was one of thousands of homeless college students in the Sacramento region.

She said being a dedicated student was nearly impossible.

"I have no time to focus on homework or studying or finals, exams, whatever because, again, I’m worrying about where am I going to lay my head at night? That's more important. What am I going to eat? That’s more important," she explained.

It's why she supports a measure to allow homeless community college students to sleep in their cars in campus parking lots.

The colleges themselves, however, have some concerns.

"My sense is not that they’re opposed as much as they’re trying to figure out how they can support their students in the best possible way," said Laura Metune with the Community Colleges Chancellor's Office.

Metune said Assembly Bill 302, which would allow for sleeping on campus, leaves some questions unanswered.

"That if we’re going to allow students to park on college campuses, what kind of security is required, restroom facilities and shower facilities? What would need to be available to students so that those can also be sanitary spaces?" Metune said.

Metune added the payment plan isn't perfect either.

The program entails each school pays their own costs for homeless students sleeping in parking lots and the state reimburses them.

"I think colleges would argue that the reimbursements that they ultimately get isn't sufficient to cover the actual costs that they face," Metune said.

One thing everyone agrees on is that homelessness shouldn’t be a part of the college experience.

"I mean, it stops anyone’s education journey, honestly," Thompson said.

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