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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Basic Needs Center offers emergency housing, rent reduction for students

Eligible students can receive benefits from these programs through the Aggie Compass website

By SYDNEY AMESTOY — campus@theaggie.org

 

The Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center features numerous programs designed to help students, including rent reduction and emergency housing programs. 

The Emergency Housing program provides students in urgent need of housing with a place to stay. Since January 2021, this service has expanded to provide quarantine

housing for students living off campus if they or their roommate has tested positive for COVID-19.

Abiel Alesana, a fourth-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major and a CalFresh student intern, said he has seen an uptick in students using the COVID-19 quarantine emergency housing program.

The other half of the program focuses on securing help for students experiencing homelessness. According to Howard Channel, the basic needs coordinator for the center, students in need of housing are eligible for the Hotel Voucher program which gives students without housing a place to stay. During their stay, the center determines a students’ eligibility for a basic needs grant, which can help pay for a student’s rent or security deposit, or the Rapid Rehousing Program, which provides students with a place to stay for six to nine months, along with other resources. 

The center also provides a rent reduction program for students currently living at the Green at West Village Apartments. Student’s rent can be reduced by up to $300 per quarter through the program.

“From the perspective of these students, they told me it just meant a lot to know that they have that additional money to help out with buying books, paying for parking passes, things like that,” Channel said.

Alesana currently receives rent reductions through the program while living at the Green, and said he appreciates the assistance the program provides. 

“I’m thankful I have it,” Alesana said. “It helps out, every penny counts.”

The Basic Needs Center can also help students sign up for CalFresh, grants and a number of other resources. Additionally, the center runs a produce program, Fruit & Veggie Up, that provides fresh produce for students twice a week in front of the Memorial Union.

Many of the programs featured by the center, including the Fruit & and Veggie Up program, were created based on student input, according to Alyssa Wong, the programs’ co-coordinator.

“Not that many […] students had access to fresh vegetables or fresh food,” Wong said. “So, I would say, it was in demand.”

Programs such as the WiFi hotspot program under the Affordable Fast Internet

Program, which gives out hotspots and routers for students lacking a stable internet connection, were established on campus based on student demand during the beginning of the pandemic.

According to Channel, future basic needs programs will likely be established based on students’ ideas.

 “This is where our student voice comes in,” Channel said, “It’s probably going to be [a] student voice that’s going to tell us where to go, what’s going to be the next [program].”

 Written by: Sydney Amestoy — campus@theaggie.org

 

 

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