Calling it "one of the most urgent issues of our time," the president of San Jose State University on Monday announced new plans to help tackle homelessness among students and faculty members.
In response to an estimated 4,000 SJSU students not having a place to live, the university announced a $3 million grant from the California State University Office of the Chancellor to help pay for students' basic needs, mental health services and some emergency housing. The university also plans to demolish the Alquist Building on Paseo De San Antonio and replace it with somewhere between 800 and 1,200 below market value apartments for faculty, staff and some students.
"It breaks my heart because these people are sitting next to us," student Briena Brown said. "You’ll never know if they’re homeless. They don’t look homeless. They don’t sound homeless. They’re not what people envision a homeless person being."
The on-campus facilities to help those in need should be open by next fall. The replacement housing will likely take five years to complete.
"The multi-purpose project we envision will result in affordable, below market rate units that we absolutely must have at this university," SJSU President Mary Papazian said.