A study published by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab and Temple University found that more than one-third of all college students expressed insecurities about their housing while a further nine percent identified as homeless. Despite these disparaging numbers, help exists. The following guide highlights some of the common challenges of this population and offers information on resources for individuals trying to further their educations while battling homelessness.
Why Are So Many Students Facing Homelessness?
Reasons for homelessness vary significantly and every family’s situation presents unique obstacles, but researchers have identified three main reasons for homelessness among potential college students.
Lack of Sufficient Income
Data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that four percent of all parents were unemployed in 2017. Although this number has decreased since the recession (peaking at eight percent in 2011), unemployment isn’t the only factor: the absence of a living wage also weighs heavily on families. Workers who earn less than $12 per hour working full-time still fall below the poverty line of $25,100 for a family of four.
Lack of Affordable Housing
The gap between minimum wage and the cost of housing has grown ever more expansive in recent years, while federal housing subsidies and the availability of affordable housing has decreased.
Family or Parental Conflict
Many homeless youth cite the inability to continue living at home with family or relatives as the reason they now find themselves in unstable housing situations. A study by Journeys Home found that 62 percent of homeless students stated that conflict or a family breakdown drove them from home.
What is happening in Kansas City?
Agencies in the Kansas City area have come together to help individuals and families access services. In order to take the next step, click on the tab at the top of this page called Coordinated Entry System for Homeless Individuals.
Coordinated Entry is a process developed to ensure that all people experiencing homelessness have fair and equal access and are quickly identified, assessed for, referred, and connected to housing and assistance based on their strengths and needs.
An individual or family who meets HUD's definition of homelessness in Kansas City may access the system at one of the five "hub" locations listed on the flyer.
It is important to note, not all persons are eligible for homeless services through the local HUD Continuum of Care and its affiliated programs, and that completing a Coordinated Entry assessment is not a program enrollment or guarantee of housing assistance.
Adapted from Affordable Colleges Online