The beginning of a new quarter feels full of promise, with backpack-adorned students laughing and chatting as they hike and bike to their first classes. However, some students need more than a backpack and a friend.
This fact was confirmed in last year’s task force reports on mental health care, food access and security, and affordable housing.
The Basic Needs Oversight Committee, which has been working to ensure recommendations from the reports are being implemented, shares the following updates on how the campus continues to make progress in all three areas.
Significantly, the university secured $1.5 million from UC’s Mortgage Origination Program for emergency housing, emergency meals and basic needs support. The funding, to be used over two years, will:
- Support a coordinator who will manage the emergency housing and meals program.
- Pay for short-term emergency housing such as hotel rooms and extended-stay lodging, as well as for housing microgrants for items such as security deposits, and utility payments or fees.
- Supplement prepaid meal cards, groceries and personal care items.
Updates: Mental Health Care
- New counselors — The university hired three in winter quarter and hopes to hire a fourth in spring quarter.
- Online appointment system — Expanded to include first-time appointments, one-time visits and mental health advocacy appointments.
- Director appointed — Paul Kim moved up from the interim status he had held since last July, at Counseling Services.
- New protocol — Sudden Death Postvention Guidelines will be used to help students cope with the loss of a member of their community.
Updates: Food Access and Security
- The Pantry — Relocated to the first floor of the Memorial Union, and expanded, to increase awareness and access to this important resource.
- Satellite Pantry and Mobile Food Pantry projects — Four food closets will be operational around the campus by fall quarter, and a mobile pantry will begin service in the fall.
- Food recovery — Students created the Freebites app to provide information to students on the location of free food on campus.
The Basic Needs Oversight Committee will wrap up its work with a final report to the chancellor in June.