How to Help the Students With No Homes?

By Kelly Field The scars on Christine Banjo’s arms are still there — faint marks from…

Georgia (Aug 24, 2015) — By Kelly Field


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The scars on Christine Banjo’s arms are still there — faint marks from the bed bugs that bit her when her family was living in a motel room during her high-school years. "Battle wounds," she calls them: a faded but constant reminder that the college junior has been chronically homeless since she was 7.

During the school year, Ms. Banjo, who is 20, lives in the dorms at Norfolk State University. But on summer vacation and during other breaks, she has no set place to go. There’s no room for her in the rooming house where her parents live, so she crashes with friends or sublets space in a cramped apartment. Most days, her only meal is the sandwich and fries she gets during her shift at McDonald’s. She returns there on her days off just to have something to eat

Marcy Stidum, associate director for counseling and psychological services at Kennesaw State University, says she knows of one student who packs her bags nearly every Saturday night in anticipation of moving. Ms. Stidum has helped the student purchase a meal plan and get federal work-study support, but she hasn’t been able to convince her that she won’t be evicted yet again.

"She told me that it’s hard to believe that somebody is not going to knock on your door and tell you to leave," Ms. Stidum says.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit