Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees member Patrick Ahrens and student trustee Genevieve Kolar presented the potential future of the Flint Center, including use as affordable housing at the DASB Senate meeting on Oct. 2.
The Board of Trustees made the final decision on June 10 to demolish the Flint Center following questions about the structural integrity of the building.
Ahrens said involvement could be a “once in a generation opportunity” for students.
Kolar said students should “challenge the generalizations made about students,” in the sense that the community may have a distorted view of what De Anza students want.
Even though Cupertino houses De Anza, according to the most recent college census, only 5.1% of its students are residents of Cupertino, with most commuting from San Jose.
The unofficial Housing Coalition, a grouping of multiple service-providers and advocates of homeless students at De Anza, sees the site as a possible housing solution for students facing rising rents and limited housing stock.
According to the Homeless and Hungry in College Report, 18% of De Anza students are homeless.
The Homeless Shelter Directory shows no homeless shelters in Cupertino, with the nearest being the Graduate House Shelter in Mountain View.
“Right now we have homeless students on campus,” Ahrens said. “Right now we have homeless employees and people living in their cars. It’s unconscionable.”
Bryant Abbot, a 28-year-old nursing student, said that adding the housing would be a good idea.
“It’s very expensive to live here and a lot of people are just one or two paychecks away from being homeless,” he said.
Any proposed solution for the site will be years in the making with several hearings before a final decision is made, likely long after current students see the benefits.
Providing housing at a community college would be an unprecedented step for the Bay Area. Only 11 of the 112 community colleges within the state of California offer housing, none of which are located in the bay.