California Teachers Union Wants To Open High School Parking Lots To Homeless People

So far, the Fresno Unified School District has refused to agree.
383367 23: A man tows his cart down the street on Skid Row December 11, 2000 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by David McNew/Newsmakers)
David McNew/Newsmakers/Getty Images

A California teachers’ union wants to invite homeless people to sleep in high school parking lots.

The Fresno Teachers Association proposed the idea in a contract proposal, saying the district should spend $500,000 to “open high school parking lots to homeless families to park their car” and “provide paid security,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.

So far, the Fresno Unified School District has refused to agree to the union’s demands, and the union is expected to strike over the next several weeks.

The union demanded other costly extras as well, including $1 million for a “free laundry service” by 2026, and another million for free yoga, meditation, and exercise programs for students. The unionized teachers also want free clothes, hygiene products, and shampoo and conditioner for students as well as mental health services for parents.

On the academic side, the union wants “expanded cultural awareness lessons in all schools starting in PreK.”

Union President Manuel Bonilla has accused the school district of failing to respond in a meaningful way, “really showing they have a lack of vision and honor the status quo.”

The district’s superintendent, Bob Nelson, countered that his “vision was to sit down and create a new way of bargaining, where we would work collaboratively on the things that really matter.”

California is battling a ballooning homelessness crisis. The state has about 170,000 homeless people, the biggest homeless population in the country, according to a report last year from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Nearly a third of the country’s homeless people live in California, according to a June statewide study from a research group at the University of California, San Francisco.


In some California cities, the problem is particularly dire and has only gotten worse since the pandemic.

The Los Angeles area has a huge homelessness population, with more than 69,100 homeless people in Los Angeles County. In San Francisco, about 38,000 people are homeless in the Bay Area on a given night, up 35% since 2019. Two weeks ago, Sacramento’s top prosecutor sued the city over its homeless encampments, accusing city officials of allowing the homeless population to become a public nuisance.

The Fresno teachers’ union is not the first to demand their district take action on progressive goals related to homelessness.

In Oakland up in the Bay Area, a teachers’ union went on strike for two weeks in May after demanding housing assistance for homeless students as well as reparations for black students. The strike shut down the city’s public schools, and the district eventually caved on the union’s housing assistance demand.

Similarly in Portland, a teachers’ union threatened to strike over subsidized housing for poor students.

Meanwhile, students across the country are suffering from learning loss related to months of remote learning during the pandemic, and experts say some students would need many more hours of instructional time to catch up.

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