SJSU denies campus group's demands to fight student homelessness

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose State's Student Homeless Alliance, or SHA, was full of energy as they marched and called on the administration for more resources for homeless students during a rally on Monday.

However, the group's spirit had noticeably faded as they stepped out of a closed-door meeting with the university's president and vice president on Tuesday.

RELATED: Students urging San Jose State to provide help to homeless students

"We are sad and disappointed that they have rejected all of our demands," Mayra Bernabe, SHA's president, said.

Students asked for at least 10 parking spots in the 7th Street parking garage to serve as a safe place for students to sleep. They also want a minimum of 12 beds in the dorms for homeless students, where they can stay up to 60 days and $2,500 emergency grants for students to remain in housing if they cannot afford rent.

A study by the California State Chancellor's Office found that about 13-percent of students experienced homelessness within the last year. SJSU has a population of roughly 33,000, 13-percent is more than 4,300 students.

SHA's faculty advisor thinks their suggestions are reasonable.

"They come and say professor, 'I've been homeless. I've been sleeping in my car. I'm sleeping in the student union. I'm sleeping in the library, that's why I didn't get the paper in,'" Scott Myers-Lipton, an SJSU professor, said.

The administration has vowed to remain committed to housing every student, but it's not clear exactly how that will get done.

"We are still seeing that students are sleeping in their cars," Saline Chandler, an SHA member said. "There will be at least 15 to 20 students sleeping in that library."

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

The administration has referred students to SJSU Cares, a resource to assist students experiencing an unforeseen economic crisis. SHA is worried how effective it will be. The organization said the school has already fallen short on promises to remedy what they call a crisis on campus.

SJSU released the following statement after the meeting with SHA:

"San Jose State University President Mary Papazian and Vice President for Student Affairs Patrick Day met with students today to discuss the importance of partnering together to identify sustainable, long term solutions that address student homelessness and food insecurity. SJSU focus its resources on providing housing options on and off campus that take into account students' safety and personal well-being. SJSU will find ways to help any student who is experiencing economic hardship, housing, or food insecurity and who comes to the university for assistance. The campus community can help students in need by referring them to SJSU Cares, a program that provides comprehensive individualized support to meet students' needs. SJSU remains committed to ongoing discussions with our students, the city, and community partners to the continued development of sustainable, long-term solutions."
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