By Stephanie Woodward |Staff Writer|
The Homelessness Housing and Assistance Act requires each county in every U.S. state to conduct an annual point in time count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons each year.
In 2014, the annual point in time count of the homeless population was an average of about 578,424 in the U.S.
From this number, there are an estimated 58,000 homeless college students nationwide, according to USA Today.
A homeless individual is defined as someone who lacks housing and who may live on the street, stays in a shelter, mission, vehicle, etc. according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
A student attending CSUSB campus, who worked part time and attended classes while living in their vehicle, was able to use financial aid to support himself.
“He would shower in the school gym before classes and move his car every night. He would either borrow my book or go to the library since he couldn’t afford the books,” said Angelo Quinto, a friend of the anonymous student.
A Salem State University student, Tina Giarla, is one of the thousands of homeless students struggling to find a place to live.
“I worked two jobs and went to school full-time, I had to save extra money to rent a hotel in case of an emergency so I wouldn’t have to go to a shelter,” said Giarla to USA Today.
Our campus lacks many resources to help students who may struggle with homelessness. I went to all of the information desks located on campus, and not one could provide me with any help or resources.
I than began my own research about what an individual might do if they were homeless and needed help; I found some information through the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY).
For many homeless students, it is hard to get enough financial aid because they cannot provide information about their parents or guardians on the form, according to the NAEHCY.
In November 2013, U.S. Senator Patty Murray introduced the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act, which helps ensure that homeless and foster youth benefit from college access programs, have access to financial aid, and support to graduate.
UCLA has an Economic Crisis Response Team that helps students with meal vouchers, scholarship information, emergency financial aid, and other resources.
Other campuses are combating homelessness by having a food pantry for students who cannot afford meals.
Our campus should help by providing adequate resources for those in need.