By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Long Beach City College has created a temporary solution, after seeing a dramatic increase of homeless students during the pandemic. 

“It is heartbreaking that we have to have a support like this because we do have students living in their cars, in the streets,” said vice president of student services Nohel Corral. “It’s a big need more than ever.”

READ MORE: Family Of 18-Year-Old Garret Hayward, Killed By Suspected DUI Driver, Hold Emotional Vigil

As a stop-gap measure, the community college created a secured parking lot with wifi and electricity, where up to 15 students can park their cars overnight. Students can also access the fitness center for showers and to use the restroom. As of Tuesday night, 14 students have signed up for spots on the lot. Although there is an estimated 70 students who are homeless, LBCC hopes to set up transitional housing to accommodate their students. 

Students like Patricia López understand the cruel daily grind of attending college, earning straight A’s and being homeless. After she became homeless in December, López was embarrassed that her college friends might see her sleeping in a car. To avoid her friends, Lopez, a single mother would drive about 10 miles to her hometown of Compton and find a place to park her car for the night. 

READ MORE: In Wake Of Recent Crime Uptick, Beverly Hills Hires More Officers And Increases Patrols

“I found myself going to supermarkets just to take a little birdbath,” she said. “I would ask people ‘Hey, can my daughter take a shower here?’”

While López is now in transitional housing with her daughter, she believes that a secured parking lot is a safe step forward. 

MORE NEWS: Police Seeking Suspects In North Hollywood Shooting And Crash

“Here you’ll be able to study — you have the internet,” she said. “I feel like this is gonna be a help to a lot of students.”