According to a survey published by researchers at Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, 36% of students said that their housing was insecure and 9% of students reported being homeless. Universities across the nation have been implementing student emergency housing programs with hopes to aid students who are experiencing homelessness. Housing insecurities really undermine students’ abilities to do well in school and focus on class.
UNC Charlotte department of Student Assistance and Support Services (SASS), just implemented a Student Emergency Housing program in hopes to aid students who are experiencing short term housing crisis. These emergencies include a house/apartment fire or flooding, sleeping in a car or any place that is not a residence, sleeping on a friend’s couch, having to move out of your current residence with no place to live, temporarily staying with family or friends.
To help students that are experiencing these emergencies, SASS and Housing and Residence Life have partnered together. Larry Gourdine, director of SASS says “Having the Student Emergency Housing Program at UNC Charlotte shows a commitment to be a part of addressing how housing insecurity is affecting our students. The University is dedicated to and invested in the long-term and short-term success of our students, and the SEHP is a way for us to remove barriers that could impact a student’s ability to be successful.” The SEHP will be in the residence hall Maple.
To be eligible for SEHP, you must show proof that you have exhausted all other options. The SEHP costs $35 a night. It is not intended to replace long term housing, and students are only eligible for 60 days.
Sid Williams is a sophomore on campus, and planned to move into Haven 49 this past fall. There was much delay in the construction, and the apartment didn’t open until months after the school year had begun. Sid was often forced to sleep from couch to couch waiting for Haven to finally open. Williams thinks that “The emergency housing program sounds like a fantastic idea, however the cost per night seems very high.” If a student were to stay in Maple for 60 days through the SEHP, the total cost would be $2100. Sid says “If a student were experiencing housing insecurities, they probably wouldn’t be able to pay the cost.”
Many other universities have seen success through their housing programs, and have seen a decrease in students experiencing the effects of housing insecurities. “My hope is that the SEHP reaches the most vulnerable of our student population that needs support during a critical time in their lives,” said Larry Gourdine, director of SASS.
For more information about emergency housing, check out https://sass.uncc.edu/services/emergency-housing