Students urging San Jose State to provide help to homeless students

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- An estimated 4,300 students at San Jose State experience homelessness at some point, based on research by the California State University chancellor's office.

RELATED: Rally to support homeless students at San Jose State University

Students are pushing hard to get the university to agree to three demands to address what they consider an intolerable situation.

"Students are living and spending long cold nights in their cars, sleeping in the library during the weekdays, and couch surfing," said homeless student advocate Else Salgado.

Salgado and others gathered at a noontime rally Monday where they urged people to call the office of SJSU President Mary Papazian to support their demands.

RELATED: Dozens of SJSU students camp out to highlight homelessness

The Student Homeless Alliance plans to meet with President Papazian Tuesday afternoon with three demands-- Setting aside at least 10 parking spaces in a garage where students can park and live safely, at least a dozen dorm beds for homeless students to sleep for up to 60 days, and emergency grants of $2,500 to help students to remain in housing if they can't afford the rent.

"We have gathered over a thousand signatures through our petition in support of our demands, and I'm sure that the support of the community, students and faculty will resonate to the leaders of San Jose State University," said Alejandro Mayorga, who is one of three students who will meet with President Papazian.

The university says it has already implemented some ideas students recommended, such as a one-stop clearinghouse for homeless students to get help, and to outline such help to incoming students each fall when they arrive on campus.

RELATED: San Jose State University has highest number of homeless students across CSU system

San Jose State says homelessness is a community-wide issue, but it wants to focus on taking care of its own students since they're trying to get an education and improve their lives.

"We want to make sure that we are finding viable long-term solutions, so it's not about opening a Pandora's box. It's just what are the realistic sustainable ones that we want to be sitting there at the table discussing, exploring and then implementing," said Christine Hutchins, San Jose State senior associate Vice President.

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