Vote ‘yes’ on the Housing Security Referendum

This one should be easy. The Housing Security Referendum provides a much-needed solution to a problem that has afflicted our campus for too long.

While we cannot expect to remedy housing insecurity overnight, this referendum serves as a reasonable first step by helping students pay their security deposits. Unfortunately, that deposit too often serves as a stumbling block for many students on the search for housing.

This referendum will incur on students a modest fee of $4 per semester for the next four years, potentially providing 2,000 students with loans and scholarships to help pay their security deposits and will be returned at the expiration of the lease. The seeds we plant with this referendum would bloom into an entirely new form of financial aid.

According to the referendum’s primary sponsor, ASUC Senator Anthony Carrasco, this loan/scholarship will have an 87 percent return rate — a loss that will be offset by increased fundraising efforts. In other words, this pool could benefit future generations of UC Berkeley students indefinitely.

While we always fear that increased government programs will only contribute to bureaucratic bloat with the imposition of a new committee and additional staff, Carrasco said students who qualified for a loan/scholarship would receive their housing award within two weeks of applying.

Given the range of students that this fee increase will serve, the Housing Security Referendum stands out as one of the most practical on the ballot. And by starting at a relatively low cost, it also gives itself room to grow should it fail to provide students with adequate housing security.

Our campus falls flat when it comes to serving its most disadvantaged student communities. But those communities support this referendum. We must take it upon ourselves to ensure that students have the ability to pay a security deposit and compete for housing equitably with their peers.

Vote “yes” on the Housing Security Referendum.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.