The Wisconsin Hope Lab released a new report that highlights students’ basic needs vulnerability in community colleges. Hungry and Homeless in College provides a comprehensive overview of students need for housing and food support in college campuses. According to the report, more than half of community college students had some form of housing instability, and 14 percent of those students were experiencing homelessness. Twenty-nine percent of formerly foster youth students were experiencing homelessness, and between 31 to 32 percent of the students that were either food or housing insecure received some form of financial aid (i.e. Pell Grant). The report also estimated that approximately 63 percent of parenting students were housing insecure, out of which 14 percent were homelessness, 63 percent were food insecure, and less than 5 percent of these students were receiving childcare subsidies.
The report concludes by highlighting policy and practice changes community colleges and policymakers can implement to address the basic needs of college students. These include:
- Identifying an institutional leader or committee task force to focus on students’ basic needs security
- Assigning a single point of contact person to serve as the basic needs expert for students, especially for those experiencing homelessness
- Implementing innovative practices and programs to address food insecurity, such as food pantries or coordinated benefit access programs
- Working with local housing authorities and developers to create set asides and mixed-income housing for students
- Developing on-campus housing opportunities for those experiencing homelessness/housing instability
- Extending SNAP eligibility requirements for college students who are eligible for work-study, but do not receive work-study funds to meet the 20 percent work requirement
Click here to read the report.