Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

UCLA students run shelter to help homeless classmates

A group at the University of California, Los Angeles, hopes that by running a shelter for their classmates who don't have a place to live, they will bring attention to the plight of homeless students.

Since October, the Bruin Shelter organization has paid rent for two rooms inside the Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica. The shelter has nine beds and a lounge, and offers toiletries, breakfast, and dinner, with a student supervisor spending the night to ensure safety. Student Imesh Samarakoon told SCPR the group picks residents "who are in the most dire circumstances," and more than 36 students from UCLA and Santa Monica College have applied to live in the Bruin Shelter.

UCLA offers emergency student housing for two weeks, while Santa Monica College doesn't offer any, but does have a food program for homeless students. The shelter will remain open until April, and the Bruin Shelter students will then discuss what worked and what didn't work; the goal is to then open in the fall for an entire academic year. "We really want to start a discussion, we really want to get everyone else thinking about how can we help these students," Samarakoon said. Catherine Garcia