Homeless students benefit from emergency housing assistance at Kennesaw State
Beacon Foundation donation helps University’s CARE Center provide short-term, on-campus living
KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 16, 2016) — A new door has opened at Kennesaw State – one that will provide emergency housing for homeless students or those at risk of homelessness at the University.
The one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment is made possible by a $25,000 grant from the Beacon Foundation Charitable Trust, a local charity focused on poverty relief. The donation was given to the University’s CARE Center, which offers support to any Kennesaw State student who is dealing with homelessness or food insecurity or is a part of the foster care system.
“We are so thankful for the generous donation from the Beacon Foundation which has made this housing option possible for our students,” said K.C. White, vice president for student affairs at Kennesaw State. “We know both the challenges and the opportunities that our homeless students face, and the CARE Center has been a bright light for these students. Through their diligent efforts and these community partnerships, the CARE Center is making a tremendous imprint on students’ lives.”
As one of the first in the country, the on-campus room was selected so that any student, regardless of gender or disability, can reside there throughout the year. A student can live in the apartment for up to 14 days, which allows the CARE Center time to work with student, campus and community organizations to secure long-term housing.
“The students we serve are resilient, dedicated and determined individuals who ‘life’ has just happened to them. I am thankful CARE is able to serve KSU students in such a meaningful way with this new campus apartment,” said Marcy Stidum, director of the CARE Center and associate director of counseling and psychological services at Kennesaw State. “The investment of giving them a safe place to sleep and study, even if temporary, will have such an impact on their ability to break the cycle of poverty while achieving their educational and personal goals.”
Campus and community members gathered during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 10, to officially dedicate the apartment for the 2016-17 academic year.
“The Beacon Foundation Charitable Trust trustees have a heart for those who are pursuing their education, and we look for opportunities to help those whose resources do not qualify them for conventional financial assistance,” said Elizabeth Smith Williams, a foundation trustee. “We believe that when you touch a young person in a positive way, you have not only changed the trajectory of the life of a student, you have changed the lives of all those they will touch in the future.”
Donations from Kennesaw State students, faculty, staff and community members supplied linens, such as sheets and towels, for each student. Students will be able to take those essentials to their permanent residence so they “always have a little piece of KSU,” Stidum explained.
“The CARE Center started with a phone call five years ago to help one student. Since then, we have helped more than 400 students,” said Stidum.
In addition to helping students find housing, the CARE Center works with students to secure food and meal plans, get them out of arrears to avoid eviction, provide clothing options and locate job openings.
In the past year, the CARE Center has provided some level of support to more than 80 students, with 14 students housed or prevented from eviction. The CARE Center is currently working with 16 homeless students and 10 others who are in foster care.
Homelessness can be defined in many ways, but according to Stidum, it is poverty that takes away choice and leaves fewer options for many students. The new housing unit opened this week.
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers close to 200 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. 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 kennesaw.edu.