Conceptual drawing courtesy AMCAL Multi-Housing Inc.

Note: The following open letter to the Arcata City Council was submitted by Rollin C. Richmond, who served as president of Humboldt State University from 2002-2014. For the sake of disclosure, Lost Coast Communications, Inc., General Manager CEO John Richmond is Rollin Richmond’s son.

The Arcata City Council will hold a special public hearing on Tuesday, July 17 at 6 p.m. to consider the final Environmental Impact Report, permits and development agreement terms for the Village project:


Dear Council Members: 

As a former administrator and faculty member at Humboldt State University, I urge you to support the plans to create the Village to house university students. We have an ethical issue in our county because of the number of students both at HSU and College of the Redwoods who are homeless.

In 2017, 19 percent of HSU students were homeless. In 2016, seven percent of CR students were homeless. The average proportion of homeless college students in our country is roughly 11-14 percent. You and the City of Arcata have a moral obligation to provide these young American citizens with a reasonable place to live while they complete their education. 

It is also much more efficient and much cheaper to help them now than to deal with them later in life if they cannot finish their educations. If you wish to see the details of the studies that have provided the data on student homelessness, please check these reports from California State University.

While I certainly understand your need to respond to the concerns of Arcata residents and home owners, I plead with you to consider the ethical issues involved. The Village project will improve the property where it will be located and that will benefit the local residents. People are often opposed to change, but change is often to the benefit of our society. University students whose families do not live in Humboldt County bring many millions of dollars to our community as well as providing service in public entities.  

The Village decision is a critical one for our community, the university and college and many young people. Please make the right decision and vote to allow the Village to be constructed. Thank you for all you do for our community and for considering my request.


Rollin C. Richmond


Note: A previous version of this post included an outdated conceptual drawing. The Outpost regrets the error.