The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.

The Advocate

Law requires shower access for homeless

Law requires shower access for homeless

By Denis Perez, Photo Editor

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A recent California state law ordering that a two-hour block of access to locker room showers on campuses be designated to homeless students makes official a familiar policy for Contra Costa College.

Athletic Director John Wade said it is a good law but it is not a game changer. Students were already able to use the showers if they had physical education  classes and if any student needed to take a shower they were able to.

“The golden rule has always been if they want to use it, they must be respectful,” Wade said.

Dean of Student Services Vicki Ferguson said now that it is law they are able to market and network the program.

She said, “Our goal is to be open beginning mid-March. The minimum requirement to use the shower is to be enrolled in one class. Whether you’re taking one class or six classes, if you need access to showers you should be able to get access to one.”

Necessity

Building and Ground Manager Bruce King said, “There is a homeless student population. I know a student who sleeps at the bus stop. I say hi to him and ask him how he is doing. There are also homeless people who are just sleeping here.

“There was an instance where a homeless woman was giving herself a shower in the men’s restroom in the Knox Center and a faculty member walked in and they both got scared.”

Library Assistant Lucy Brown said homelessness is more apparent in the cities than in the suburban areas, but homelessness is a serious issue in the academic community.

It is hard to keep track of the homeless population because it’s hard for them to self-identify.

She said, “It is the humane thing to do to open up the showers to homeless students.”

Library Coordinator Megan Kinney said, “Working in libraries you get to interact with the homeless population. There has been a time when a homeless person’s odor has filled the Library and it is apparent they need access to a shower.”

Security

Police Services Lt. Tom Holt said, “Whenever we talk about student security in a building, whether it be the Gymnasium or the General Education Building, it means a faculty or staff member has to be with them to oversee what is happening.”

Ferguson said the bill provides instructions to work the two-hour block into time frames that don’t conflict with collegiate athletic programs or classes. The bill also states staff members must be present at those times.

“We picked the time frame of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. because both staff members are present in the Women’s and Men’s Locker Room showers and they are able to supervise and alert the right people in case of any emergencies,” Ferguson said.

Those looking to use the showers will not be asked for their campus ID or proof of units.

“We are not going to know who is homeless or not, or even if they are students. They are given that right to prevent students that have to come out as homeless from feeling harassed when they are just trying to shower,” Ferguson said.

There is an existing partnership with Spark Point to give out “Comet Care Packages” to students and the Associated Student Union’s food pantry is open to students in need.

Ferguson said student leadership voices through social media and other outlets will be used to spread the word about the newly designated availability of showers.

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The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.
Law requires shower access for homeless