Sharon Wu | The Poly Post

Bronco Care Center aims to combat housing insecurity

By Matisse Sanchez, Oct. 4, 2022

College students across California are on the verge of being homeless as soaring rents heighten shortages of student housing. In response, Cal Poly Pomona has created the Bronco Care Center to assist students in need of housing and other resources.

Cost of living and rent in California have skyrocketed over the past couple of years. With certain areas being more expensive than others, housing has become unaffordable for some students.

“The people who might be on the brink of financial distress or mental health issues are pushed into an area where housing costs are high,” said Anthony Orlando, associate professor of Finance, Real Estate and Law. “Housing is already a homelessness problem.”

In the CSU’s Basic Needs Assessment, 41.6% of students reported food insecurity, often skipping meals so they can pay for books or rent, and 11% reported homelessness.

CPP has made its mission to start helping students who are either housing insecure or are looking for an affordable place to live. Some students are finding it hard to keep up with the rent or stay financially secure.

According to Davonna Watkins, the housing care manager and rapid rehousing liaison for the Bronco Care Center, many students struggle to find affordable housing, and it has been an increasing problem since the pandemic.

Although loans and scholarships are available for students,’ most of them are not enough to cover bills and necessities such as gas, groceries, clothing and more.

The Bronco Care Center is an organization on campus to help students who need housing and support of anything they might need such as clothing, food and more. The Bronco Care Center not only helps students get back on their feet, but it gives them the support that they may not be able to get from other people.

“I didn’t know that CPP offered such great resources,” said political science student Brenda Romero. “It’s great to hear that students now have access to support when one is in need.”

Homelessness is not only seen on the streets but is also on our campus. Students who might not have a place to stay and are going around sleeping on other friends or families’ couches is considered homelessness and is something that students struggle with when trying to find a permanent home.

The Bronco Care Center not only helps with getting students off of the streets, but it connects them with organizations that can help them find rent at a lower price. Rapid Rehousing allows students to have access to their own room or communal spaces but puts them inside homes and under roofs.

Sharon Wu | The Poly Post

“If they need immediate assistance, we’re able to secure at least up to two weeks of emergency housing and maybe connect them to either resource for rooms to rent near campus,” said Watkins. “We connect them with our campus partners, which is Jovenes Inc.”

With the job market being tough students find it hard to find a job that pays enough and works with their school schedule. While trying to balance school and work, some students have to sacrifice dropping classes in order to pay for all their financial needs.

“Not only is it difficult to find work, but it’s difficult to find work that you can balance with your class load,” said Orlando. “So, trying to earn enough money to pay those housing costs winds up being a problem that we don’t see in the rest of the homeless population.”

The Bronco Care Center has emergency grants for students who are not able to pay for some necessities. At the center students can get connected to a case manager, DRC and even counseling and psychological services.

The Bronco Care Center also helps with the necessity of emergency housing. Students can meet with the center to help them and figure out their needs and may even grant them for up to a $500 for assistance.

“If they need immediate assistance, we are able to secure at least up to two weeks emergency housing for those students,” said Watkins.

Whether that be on campus or anywhere else, students can obtain a two week buffer while the school helps connect them with any organization or housing program that might be able to get them inside a home sooner rather than later.

“I would love for any current students to reach out to us with anything they need. I feel like our center is new to the campus, but basic needs have been a priority of us since the beginning. We want to continue that students have what they need to be successful and earn their degree,” said Watkins.


Feature image by Sharon Wu


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