Imagine you are a college student. Imagine a day of classes, meetings, assignments and work. Now imagine going home to sleep in your car, your friend’s couch, or even the local bus station.
This is the unfortunate reality for many homeless college and university students across the nation.
That’s why West Chester University (WCU) is taking proactive steps on its campus and community to help reduce the burden some of its students are facing. The university has identified over two dozen students who are currently homeless, and there are potentially many more who have not revealed that they are homeless.
The West Chester University Foundation, a nonprofit, offers homeless students free year-round housing. In addition, the university established a committee, represented by several campus offices, to help connect students to community services, and students are given financial guidance so that they can qualify to receive the maximum school, state and federal aid. WCU is also looking to establish a campus resource center that can distribute food, clothing and other necessities.
“People become homeless for all sorts of reasons,” said Tori Weigant, WCU assistant director of financial aid, to The Philadelphia Inquirer recently. Weigant serves as a mentor and point of contact on campus for homeless students, often helping them troubleshoot a myriad of issues.
Weigant also says universities should establish a single point of contact on campus for students, so they don’t have to tell their painful stories over and over.