RioSource & Basic Needs Support

The RioSource Room

A student’s ability to meet their basic needs, such as food, housing, and mental health and wellness, is critical to their well-being and success. The Rio Hondo College Foundation provides resources and helps remove obstacles outside of the classroom to keep them focused on education and working towards their full potential. The RioSource Room serves as the campus one-stop shop for basic needs where students are connected to staff to get immediate solutions and referrals to resources. The RioSource rooms includes resources for our parenting students, and believes in supporting students and their families.

The RioSource Room currently offers the following services either virtually or in-person:

  • Housing Referrals with a LAHSA co-located housing peer-navigator
  • Housing Intakes
  • Food Pantry
  • CalFresh Application Assistance
  • Transportation Referrals
  • Childcare Referrals
  • Mental Health and Physical Health Referrals
  • Diapers and Baby Hygiene Products
  • Community Clothing Closet
  • Emergency support services
  • Connections to domestic violence and sexual assault survivor resources

Food Access

To combat the food insecurity faced by two-thirds of Rio Hondo students, the Basic Needs Department and Foundation are collaborating on multiple grants to promote CalFresh among students through targeted outreach on campus and in community. These efforts include application assistance and support, document verification and uploads, and application follow-up with Los Angeles County.

By educating students about the program and encouraging them to apply, we hope to reduce stigma around the program. The CalFresh outreach project is funded in part by USDA, SNAP, known in California as CalFresh, an equal opportunity provider and employer, and the California Department of Social Services.

Using peer-to-peer outreach, student ambassadors in the program serve as on-campus advocates to educate their peers about the resources available to them to remove basic needs obstacles such as food insecurity.

LAFB Partnership

The Rio Hondo College Foundation serves as the MOU partner for the Los Angeles Food Bank, allowing the college to operate the pantry located in the RioSource Room. Through this partnership, during the 2022-2023 academic year, the RioSource Room was able to provide over 20,000 pounds of food and 6,950 individual meals. This partnership has allowed the RHCF to serve not only the campus, but also the community. The pantry is open to the public and is an added support to individuals and families in the area.


The cost of diapers, wipes, and general items for children can strain families that have already been disproportionally devastated by the pandemic and rising costs of living. Through a partnership with Baby2Baby, the RioSource Room and the Foundation are able to distribute diapers, baby hygiene products, clothing and education essentials to both families on-campus and within the community.

Housing Support

Through the funding of a grant from the Youth and Young Adult Housing Fund, the foundation has received support for the “Hope Housing Pilot” at Whittier College. Program participants receive room and board, as well as intrusive academic and personal supports that are designed for participant success and holistic development. Through this program, students are connected to a housing peer-navigator that is co-located at Rio Hondo College, from Jovenes, Inc.

For students that do not meet Hope Housing Pilot eligibility, including those over the age of 24 and parenting students, they are supported by our Housing Peer Navigator, who is co-located through LAHSA’s Homelessness In Higher Education Workgroup. The Housing Peer Navigator or our Holistic Case Manager connects students to additional supports, including:East Los Angeles Women’s Center, The Whole Child, PATH, Union Station, Volunteers of America, Salvation Army, Whittier First Day, Shelter’s Right Hand, and many others.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn has supported funding for Homeless Student Support Services. This fund will help assist students with emergency needs to help prevent or alleviate homelessness. Emergency requests for shelter, eviction prevention, rental assistance, transportation, childcare, or food security should be directed to the campus basic needs center. This fund supports students of all ages, and those with dependent children.

Violence Intervention Project (VIP)

Funded by the California Office of Emergency Services’ Campus Grant for Sexual Assault Programs, Rio Hondo College works collaboratively with East Los Angeles Women’s Center (ELAWC) to bring intervention services to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. ELAWC currently has co-located staff at Rio Hondo Campus including a counselor-advocate and therapist. ELAWC staff provide free, confidential, bilingual (English/Spanish), culturally competent services to student survivors of violence in the following areas:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Accompaniments to law enforcement, medical/forensic exams, civil court hearings, Title IX administrative hearings
  • Advocacy with criminal justice, educational institutions, public works, housing resources, civil legal matters, immigration resources
  • Legal Advocacy and Information with protective orders, child custody, dissolution, immigration, special visas
  • Individual Counseling
  • Group Counseling Sessions
  • Art Therapy
  • Empowerment Self-Defense
  • Educational and Prevention Workshops

East Los Angeles Women’s Center provides holistic and wrap around services for student survivors regardless of time of incident. ELAWC aids with domestic violence shelter services, and where appropriate and eligible, transitional housing support for survivors of violence and their children.

Parenting Students

Many of our Rio Hondo students are primary caretakers for their own families. We do our best to recognize and address the specific challenges facing parenting students. Working closely with the Campus’ CARE and CalWORKS programs, parenting students can receive assistance in textbooks, educational supplies, transportation support, Cal FRESH/WIC, and campus employment.

Additionally, the RioSource Room provides diapers, formula, baby/children’s clothing, and hygiene items (as available) through our partnership with Baby2Baby and the Los Angeles Food Bank.

Currently, we have no direct housing to students with families. However, students with dependent children are the highest need population we currently serve. To address this need, we partner with East Los Angeles Women’s Center who provides a host of services, including supportive housing, to students with children who have experienced sexual or domestic violence. Additionally, we utilize the coordinated entry system and connect families in need to agencies like The Whole Child, the Whittier Navigation Center, Volunteers of America, Union Family Services, and the City of El Monte; these resources are frequently beyond capacity. We are active members in the Whittier Homeless Coalition and LAHSA’s Homelessness in Higher Education Workgroup, where we advocate for increased resources for families and students facing homelessness.