SAN JOSE (KRON) — San Jose State University has announced an ambitious new program to deal with the lack of housing on and around campus.

The comprehensive plan includes a proposal to use a surplus state-owned building near campus. 

The state-owned Alfred Alquist building, at the corner of 3rd and San Carlos, just a block from campus, has been transferred to San Jose State University.

The building will be torn down and the property converted into housing for students, faculty and staff.  

“We will be expanding some of the beds that are available for emergency housing,” said Mary Papazian, president of San Jose State University.

Papazian on Monday announcing a slate of initiatives to tackle a housing shortage that has an estimated 4,000 students experiencing homelessness at some point in their time here.

“We can’t go back and do something yesterday, but what we can do is start the process now and hope that as we begin to find more solutions,” the university president said. “We’ll be able to bring more partners to the table and grow that.”

During a morning news conference, State Senator Jim Beall and Assemblyman Ash Kalra said that the state will move ahead with plans to transfer the nearby, under-used state office building to the university, which will be replaced by housing for as many as 1,200 students and faculty,

“All of the universities and community colleges need more affordable housing and this homeless thing with students is getting out of hand and we have to do something about it,” Beall said.

The university also has secured a $3.1 million grant from the Chancellor’s Office. 

The money to be shared with local non-profits for rapid re-housing, mental health and other basic student needs.  

A new pilot program in the fall that will set aside 12 or more beds for emergency housing is a welcome development says the Student Homeless Alliance’s Briena Brown.

“All you need is a group of passionate students who are willing to do what they can and speak out and be loud about a good cause,” Brown said.