Homelessness in Community College

1 out of 2 community college students lack secure housing; 14 percent are homeless.

“One thing I always tell people, you’ve got to keep going, no matter what,” Bre said. “You have to be optimistic, even in the crazy situations.” A student at DC’s Trinity University, Bre represents our nation’s future and the hard realities facing 1 our 2 college students today. 

While attending school, Bre also works a retail job and is able to live on campus.  But like a growing number of students across the country, there is no “home” to go to in the summer. 

When school is not in session, Bre lives in a tent alongside the Third Street Tunnel.  The tunnel runs below the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.  While Congress is making daily decisions about housing, healthcare, jobs, wages, war, and peace, Bre’s home is alongside the tunnel which carries thousands of persons in and out of DC every day - - including those Senators and Congresspersons making life and death decisions about her life - - and ours.   

The 2017 Kresge Foundation survey of 33,000 community college students found 33 percent of community college students endured chronic hunger, nearly 50 percent lacked secure housing and 14 percent were homeless

Urban, rural, and mid-size communities are experiencing the same crisis - our housing options are not affordable.  In the Quad Cities, we hear of college students doubling and tripling up - - some sleeping in professor’s offices and homes.  We hear of tutors visiting elementary and intermediate school students who are living with their families in hotel rooms for months.  Housing programs and shelters are full - - waiting lists for rental assistance programs are nine – ten years long, and growing.  

Mayors, governors, chambers of commerce, healthcare administrators, and school districts across the country are realizing the short and long-term, social, emotional, traumatic consequences of allowing housing instability and homelessness to persist.  Inspired by books like Evicted and The Color of Law, and community movements like the Tiny House Project and Rural Studio communities are creating local solutions to big national problems.  

Since June, Humility Homes and Services has convened seven focus groups with over 50 leaders from many different sectors seeking QC Housing Solutions.  We agree making housing affordable for more helps improve the health, education, and overall productivity of the Quad Cities region. The solutions are within reach.  https://www.humilityhomes.org/qc-housing-solutions/

Read more about Bre and how DC is preventing and ending homelessness 

Mary Humility