Finding Our Students A Home

Mayra Figueroa Vazquez, Staff Writer

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          Moe Ebrahimi, part-time professor at Mesa College, started a program to find affordable housing for the homeless student population on campus.

          Collaborating with 30 current and former students at Mesa, Ebrahimi founded the San Diego Community Student Living (CSL) foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “help students succeed in college no matter housing challenges they may face.” According to their website, their initiatives include temporary living as well as safe parking and partnership with other foundations, government agencies and schools.

          “Before [this project] I wasn’t even aware that we have that many homeless students on campus,” said Ebrahimi. Once he learned about the severity of this issue he approached the school administration and asked what it is they could do to solve this.

          Hitting roadblocks along the way including little to not advancement under the school administration, Ebrahimi and co-board members decided to tackle this problem head on. “There are a lot of steps to get something like this approved… best to start as a separate foundation so it can be done faster,” said Ebrahimi.

          With the help if his collaborators from CSL, Ebrahimi’s objective is to build a dormitory near campus with good public transportation making the commute easy for the students. He hopes to start with “a couple hundred rooms with beds and kitchens.” The housing project would not only benefit the homeless population but also students who find themselves in financial hardships and need assistance finding affordable housing, however Ebrahimi said that “student who are homeless would get first priority.”

          Mesa clubs and organizations have taken initiative to try to help out its homeless students as much as they can. The Associated Student Government (ASG) hosts food drives and an annual thanksgiving feast on campus to try and help out those in need of meals. The Mesa Foundation started the Payroll Deduction Campaign and Fun Run Fundraiser. While student-run organizations have been successful, they have not solved the issue at large.

          Ebrahimi hopes to get the project up and running by summer of 2018. Ebrahimi first steps include purchasing small properties to start housing as many students as quickly as possible. Ebrahimi said this will “boost [the project] and help get more donations and support from people.”

          Fundraising events will begin at the start of 2018 and he hopes to be able to collaborate with other campuses. Ebrahimi wants the school counselors to be involved as well so students can reach out to them and learn more about the housing project if they find themselves needed assistance. “I want the school to be a part of this so that we don’t make a mistake in judgement,” said Ebrahimi.  

          According to Ebrahimi the last step needed is the filling of the IRS-1023 form which allows the organization to give vouchers to anyone who donates to the project. Once that is complete, the project will be able to roll-out, giving students a place to live. If you would like to donate, visit the San Diego Community Student Living Website at www.sdcommunityliving.org.

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Finding Our Students A Home