Earlier this quarter, the Financial Crisis Response Team at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) announced a financial aid resource for students experiencing housing emergencies. This one-time voucher is approved for those in severe circumstances who cannot afford an upcoming rent payment or who are facing eviction. It is one of the many resources the response team offers to UCSB students in need of urgent financial help.
The Basic Needs and Rapid Rehousing manager, Rebecca Segundo, elaborated on the details of this voucher and what students may qualify for the aid in an interview with The Bottom Line.
“To be considered for this resource, students must be enrolled at least half-time — undergraduate students (six units) and graduate students (four units). Students who demonstrate financial need will be prioritized for this assistance,” said Segundo. “Funding is limited for this support, thus students are also required to have accessed 50 percent of their subsidized loan eligibility to be considered.”
Whether living in student housing or off-campus, any student currently undergoing a housing-related crisis is encouraged to apply by emailing the response team with a detailed description of their housing emergency. Members of the team will respond within one business day with further information on receiving the voucher and any additional financial resources that may apply.
“Funds are approved on a case-by-case basis but typically range from $500-$800 depending on the personal circumstance,” explained Segundo.
If a student believes they are not eligible for emergency assistance, it is still recommended that they reach out for an appropriate evaluation of their situation. Conditions to the voucher exist in order to prioritize those in serious need. Those who may be wondering whether their situation counts as an emergency or not are recommended to inquire about the grant, either to receive the actual funds or more other information which may be beneficial to their specific situation.
Segundo explained that the Financial Crisis Response Team is devoted to helping any student dealing with financial strains, and if a person is not eligible for this voucher, they will be thoughtfully directed to better-suited resources.
Furthermore, this grant was created with the intention of keeping struggling students in mind, but is not a fallback for those who can not afford rent on a monthly basis — it is for one-time use only.
Other services are available for long-term financial assistance, but these funds are explicitly for housing emergencies only. The Financial Crisis Response Team also specializes in long-term committed support for students unable to meet daily basic needs and connects them with the appropriate campus department that will best meet their situation.
For those who require dire housing assistance, there is a transitional housing program available that provides students with a place to stay and a readily available meal plan. The program is intended to protect students who were evicted or pushed out of their homes in between leases. The maximum period of stay is 25 days, but further counseling and case management are provided to help students find a secure place to live.
Members of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) also have access to the Associated Students EOP Grant devised to cover a wide range of expenses, such as medical, dental, optical, textbooks, and even graduate program fees. The only eligibility requirements, besides EOP membership, are at least half-time academic enrollment and Pell Grant/Cal Grant candidacy.
To apply, students must first meet with an EOP counselor to provide an in-depth explanation of their pressing expenses and receive a financial aid estimate. Counseling appointments can be scheduled in-person at the Student Resource Building or over the phone at (805) 893-4758.
Students bombarded with a medical emergency expense can apply for the Campus Medical Care Assistance Fund (CMCAF) if they are recipients of UC SHIP health insurance. Visit the linked website for a full description of the qualifications needed to apply. Financial aid disbursed from the fund ranges from $500-$6,600 depending on the severity of the injury or sickness, as mentioned on the website.
UCSB offers a wide variety of aid for those in urgent or persistent necessity, and the housing voucher is but one of the initiatives. For further assistance on accessing UCSB financial resources and counseling, students can visit the Food Security and Basic Needs Advising Center located in the University Center (UCen).
As Segundo explained, “The Basic Needs advocates can assist students facing food— such as CalFresh application assistance, financial, and housing insecurity. Please visit the Basic Needs Resources website for additional resources. Students wishing to connect online can schedule a 30-minute consultation appointment using this Shoreline link.”