Research conducted by the HOPE Centre shows that 1 in 5 community college students in the U.S. either lived in shelters, on the streets or out of cars in the past year, with a staggering 60% of students experiencing insecure housing as they continued their studies.
The research suggests that student homelessness is predominantly created by financial selectivity, the lack of accommodation for community colleges and the failure to acknowledge the impact of housing expenses on students’ budgets.
Students attending private colleges were less likely to experience housing insecurity.
Adjusting the System
Eager to find solutions, several states are experimenting with rewriting their laws to tackle the issue. In California, three proposed bills aim to expand community colleges’ financial aid to include ‘need-based’ grants which can be contributed towards housing costs. In addition, community colleges are required to allow homeless students to access their overnight car parks to maximise safety and cost efficiency.
On a wider political scale, the increased exposure of housing costs acts as a productive step in preparing students for college. Politicians such as Elizabeth Warren are advocating for accessible and fair support systems, in order to prevent the young people of America from experiencing the emotional trauma of homelessness.