students are in kayaks at Channel Islands Harbor

May 9, 2023 – CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI)’s Basic Needs program has received four grants aimed at enhancing the basic needs of students, and the Channel Islands Boating Center received a separate grant supporting the center’s summer boating lessons for kids ages 8 to 15.

Ventura County Continuum of Care (VC CoC) Alliance presented CSUCI’s Basic Needs program with three grants totaling $408,675 to support emergency housing and homelessness prevention efforts.

The VC CoC presented Basic Needs with $263,415 to go toward emergency housing and homelessness prevention for students 18 to 24 years old. Another $145,000 went toward homelessness prevention for those students in an unstable living situation to prevent them from needing emergency housing. And a CalFresh Healthy Living grant of $82,500 was presented to Basic Needs to implement the Healthy Living program.

The Basic Needs program provides emergency housing, grants, nutrition and other assistance to students in need, or very close to the edge as Class of 2023 student Kelsey Garcia was earlier this year.

It was January of 2023 and Garcia—a double major in Nursing and Health Sciences—was driving her 2013 Honda on the 405 freeway with a hundred things on her mind.

“It was a crazy month,” she said. “I had just been laid off and I was passing by LAX and my car crapped out. At the time I was buried. I didn’t have an income anymore and I had to get my car towed. I thought, I don’t know how to get out of this hole right now.”

CSUCI’s Basic Needs program was able to get Garcia an emergency grant of $750 to get her car towed and enabled her to rent a car temporarily so she had transportation to the hospital where she was getting the clinical hours she needed to graduate.

That $750 she received at a critical time helped clear the way for her to graduate with the rest of her classmates at this year’s commencement ceremonies, slated for May 20 and 21.

“When I think about it, that $750 is sometimes all you need as a push to get started climbing out of a hole,” Garcia said. “I don’t know how else I would have done it.”

Numerous situations can result in students requiring emergency shelter until they get back on their feet.

“The student could have been evicted or were staying on a friend’s couch or are in a domestic violence situation,” said Associate Director of Basic Needs Julia Rose. “Our current model allows for up to 28 days of emergency housing. Our focus is making sure students are developing a plan, meeting with our case manager, Ricardo Rico. The goal always is that when a student leaves emergency housing, they are leaving for a stable housing situation.”

Class of 2024 Health Sciences major Jessica Madrigal left a domestic violence situation with no idea where she and her two children, ages 2 and 7, were going to stay. Fortunately, she was aware of the Basic Needs program and reached out to Rico for help.

“He helped with temporary housing, and I was overwhelmed and grateful,” Madrigal said. “And from there, he helped me with homeless prevention in the future. I worked part time as a nursing assistant and one night a week, I bartend. My worry was that if I don’t get help, I’ll have to go back to working full time and school will once again go on the back burner.”

Basic Needs program staff and Cal Fresh reps table on campus at CSUCI

The $82,500 that went toward establishing a Healthy Living program for CSUCI students is part of a CSU-wide CalFresh Outreach initiative from the California Department of Public Health’s Center for Healthy Communities.

In partnership with CSUCI’s Wellness Promotion and Education department, Basic Needs will bring the Healthy Living program to CSUCI students with fun, educational events designed to familiarize students with the CalFresh program.

“The focus of the healthy living program is taking students who are eligible for CalFresh dollars and helping them make healthy choices in terms of their nutrition,” Rose said. “It also enables us to do workshops on kitchen skills helping students rely less on pre-made items. We’ll learn the right temperature for meat and how to read grocery store labels. It’s something anybody would benefit from.”

And finally, the Channel Islands Boating Center received $60,781 in funding from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by California Department of Parks and Recreation, Division of Boating and Waterways.

“This will be used for scholarships for our summer youth program for kids 8 to 15,” said Josh Wade, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation – Waterfront and Outdoor Adventures. “We’re reaching out to schools and nonprofit organizations to bring groups of kids out here to get out on the water and get a safe boating education.”

The summer youth program is a week-long program involving sailing, hiking, kayaking, standup paddleboarding and unique marine education in which kids learn about different types of fish.

“We’re going to do beach cleanup, explore the marsh and undeveloped part of the harbor,” Wade said. “We’ll be learning about things on top of the water some of the time and the rest of the time about things under the water.”

To learn more about the Channel Islands Boating Center’s summer programs, visit:

To learn more about CSUCI’s Basic Needs program, visit:

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