Being homeless while trying to complete a college degree has always been exceptionally difficult, and it has become an especially urgent issue during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To meet this need, Los Rios developed a new emergency housing program for students funded through the Los Rios Cares Program. It allows staff to provide homeless students shelter for up to two weeks at a discounted rate at an Extended Stay Hotel.
A recent example of the Emergency Hotel Program in action is Sara's story (name changed for confidentiality).
Sara is a second-year student who was living with a relative until she tested positive for COVID-19 and was told to leave. Finding herself suddenly homeless and ill at the same time, Sara went to a hotel but was quickly running out of money. Though she has a job, she was unable to work while sick with COVID-19; at the same time, because she is employed, she did not qualify for other initiatives.
She reached out to a faculty member and was referred to the Emergency Hotel Program. Los Rios was able to secure a hotel room for her for two weeks while she recovered from being so seriously ill.
Sara has since recovered and is temporarily staying with another relative while she searches for permanent housing. She wants to thank all the donors to the COVID-19 relief fund who made this support possible.
"Thank you to everyone who helped to support this program. COVID affects all aspects of life in an unpredictable way. I didn't think being homeless would ever be a possibility for me until I got COVID, and your support helped me through the two most difficult weeks of my life."
If you know of a student in this situation, please refer them to the Los Rios Student Emergency Fund (SEF). The SEF provides immediate financial assistance (usually within 24 hours) to students involved in catastrophic or emergency situations.