The Landscape Of Student Housing Insecurity and Homelessness

Posted by Campus Compact on August 27, 2018

Higher education has a housing crisis. Data shows that more and more college and university students every year report experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness (Goldrick-Rab, Richardson, Schneider, Hernandez, & Cady, 2018). Students who cannot find a safe and permanent place to live cannot achieve their potential in our classrooms. In order to achieve education equity, it is imperative that campuses come together to address this issue.

Campus Compact is committed to supporting its member institutions in their effort to address student housing insecurity and homelessness. Over the 207-2018 academic year, Campus Compact began an effort to understand how our network is approaching this issue and to develop resources that our campuses can use to support their students facing housing insecurity. To begin, we developed the Student Housing Insecurity Mapping (SHIM) Tool. This is a self-assessment inventory that institutions can use to assess their ability to support homeless and housing insecure students on their campuses. This tool is also useful to begin campus conversations about student housing insecurity and homelessness.

In addition to the SHIM Tool, we developed resources on for member institutions to use when developing programming and building institutional procedures to assist students experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness. This resource includes a variety of program models, interventions, and research that individuals on campuses can use to inform and direct their own action plans to meet the needs of their students.

Finally, we applied the SHIM Tool to a study of 50 of our member campuses in order to establish where we are as a higher education community, and how we can move forward to better support students in need. “The Landscape of Student Housing Insecurity and Homelessness: A Survey of our Network” identifies strengths and weaknesses and points to opportunities where campuses can build programming and services that are targeted toward addressing the needs of students facing housing insecurity and homelessness. Based on the information gathered, our network is clearly engaging in work to offer campus programming for students who are likely to need support meeting their basic needs. We can do more by (1) resisting the stigma associated with homelessness, (2) more directly training faculty and staff to support students facing housing challenges, and (3) developing partnerships and programs to support students experiencing housing insecurity.

The following report details the development of a revised mapping tool and the results of our 50 campus analysis.

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