College Student Homelessness in America

College Student Homelessness in America

College Student Homelessness in America: Nov’2016 [web]

Did you know that, according to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), there are currently 58,000 students attending college who identify as homeless? I didn’t. This is an outrageous number of students, and the number has increased by 75% over the last three years. The percentage by which the rate of homelessness has increased makes me concerned.

Many college students are forced into unstable situations that cause them to be homeless. With this in mind, there are a variety of stressful scenarios including, but not limited to: parental job loss, severe family conflict, verbal and physical abuse, neglect, and even health or mental concerns. We also have to consider the different types of family structures that people come from: single parent, nuclear family, divorced or separated parents, and foster parents.

From my personal experience of knowing homeless students, and having almost been one myself, the most likely students to become homeless are foster children who become independents without guidance or proper finances, students who come from single-parent homes, and LGBT students.

As more and more students are graduating high school and going straight into college, the main question students and parents have are related to the cost of university: housing, tuition and fees, the cost of textbooks, food and living essentials, and medical care. We must ask ourselves, is the price we are required to pay in order to attend classes and better ourselves as individuals in order to be considered somewhat productive citizens in society worth it?

My freshman year at the Marietta campus, I had a friend who was a sophomore engineering student. He dropped out during his junior year because he was homeless for years, and he just didn’t want to deal with the stress and struggle anymore. I didn’t know this when I first met him, and I was devastated when he told me. I told him that he could stay in my dorm, even though that was against housing rules and regulations; I didn’t care. He stayed with me for two months, and then spent some time with friends in Atlanta. I didn’t see him for a while after that. I tried to reach out to him by phone, but his line was disconnected. I asked mutual friends on campus what had happened to him, which is when I found out that he had dropped out. No one knew why. They thought he had left to pursue his other hobbies and make a professional profile for himself, which he had, but, knowing his situation, I made another effort to talk to him through Facebook. He explained everything to me and told me not to worry about him. We haven’t spoken much since then.

Writing this makes me want to cry because you never know what people are going through. He was always so optimistic and loved to dance, but he was also a foster child who felt like nobody cared. Instead of letting people know, he would rather close the world off in order to sustain his independence.

But, to any students out there who are experiencing or have almost experienced homelessness, you are NOT alone.

With that in mind, there is a CARE Center on the Kennesaw campus that provides resources to help students who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. Further information is listed below:

– Food Pantry: Food supplies are available for ANY KSU students experiencing hunger and struggling to buy food.

– Linens & Personal Care: Items are available to students who have met with a case manager who has determined that they need additional resources.

– Donations: CARE operates solely on the generosity of donations. A gift to the CARE center provides financial support and fulfills the tangible needs of students.

– Case Management: This is a team that coordinates and provides ongoing support, such as linking to housing, employment, financial, and educational support services.

– Volunteer: The CARE Center needs volunteers to restock and organize the pantry shelves, set up for events, etc.

Homelessness Awareness Week [HAW]: This is a week-long series of events dedicated to increasing awareness of homelessness on college campuses, as well as reducing the stigma to students facing homelessness. This year’s HAW will be November 5th through November 11th. Check out the event list here.

College student homelessness is a serious issue which requires support and usage to continue receiving resources, services, and sponsorship, so please contact the CARE Center if you or anyone you know needs these services and resources.

Location: Kennesaw Hall 2401

Telephone: 470-578-6600