God’s Hand Extended will partner with other non-profit organizations to host a support event for “It Takes A Village,” the Victor Valley College program that assists its homeless and needy student population.
Susan Padilla, the founder of God’s Hand, said VVC students and faculty are invited to the support event that begins at 11 a.m. Saturday at Victorville First Assembly of God on Nisqualli Road.
“We will have free food boxes, clothing, resources, (a) taco man, Kona Ice and other activities,” Padilla said. “We want to encourage the students to meet and greet each other and to get plugged into our community and the new program at VVC.”
Launched in January, the VVC program is led by the non-profit homeless outreach organization Searchlight Society and Next Up, another VVC program that offers a variety of resources for students who are homeless, in the foster care system or in need.
To qualify for the VVC program, applicants must be enrolled or registered for classes, and experiencing some form of housing insecurity or homelessness.
Qualified students will be offered case management services, rapid rehousing into a partner hotel and a short-term housing solution, such as an apartment or home. Since its launch, the VVC program has received 33 student referrals and has rehoused 10, according to the Searchlight website.
Daniel Herrera is the co-founder of the Searchlight Society and Amber Allen is the director of Next Up.
According to a UCLA report published last year, 1 in 5 community college students are impacted by homelessness. It’s also estimated that 1 in 10 California State University students, and 1 in 20 University of California students, are also impacted, according to ABC7.
Last year, New Hope Village and Barstow Community College unveiled a three-unit apartment complex for a group of homeless students, the Daily Press reported.
A survey Prepared by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University showed a snapshot of homelessness among BCC students
Of the 3,100 emails sent out, 111 BCC students responded. Of those, 55% reported being recently food insecure and 68% reported being housing insecure in the previous year. Also among respondents, 19% had been homeless in the previous year.
Other groups helping with Saturday’s outreach include “NextGen,” the church’s young adult ministry and Restore Unity, a Hesperia-based nonprofit that partners with other nonprofits to serve the homeless and low-income population.
“Amber (Allen) has the students and money for housing and God’s Hand Extended has the resources, furniture, kitchen items and household items, clothing and volunteers,” Padilla said. “Restore Unity has the clothing closet and follow up a team with students, and Nex Gen has the young adults and a place for them to connect on Friday nights, but most importantly we all have Jesus to offer these kids.”
For more information on It Takes A Village, visit www.VVC.edu.
Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227 or RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.