Nonprofit and Government Resources for Homeless Students
In our final installment of resources for homeless college students, we’ll be looking at the incredible range of support services provided by many different organizations throughout the country. As we mentioned previously, homelessness for students in higher education is a rapidly growing issue that often goes unnoticed – even by college administrators. This phenomenon affects students throughout the country and at every type of institution. Without helpful policies in place, these students are finding themselves sleeping and studying in their cars (if they have one) just to make it to class.
No matter what a homeless college student may find themselves in need of, chances are there’s a nonprofit or government agency that can provide support. Here’s a rundown of some of the best resources available today:
Coalition for the Homeless. Although this program is in New York, similar programs exist throughout the country. The First Step Job Training Program is a great resource for both students who want to work while in school and for those seeking career planning advice as they prepare to graduate and find their first professional role.
Feeding America. This national nonprofit provides a searchable database of all the food banks and pantries throughout the country for students whose universities may not be able to offer them assistance.
Homes for Students. Although based in Washington D.C., this nonprofit works to support students in college in need of housing assistance. Their innovative “Adopt-A-Student” program allows individuals to read about students in need and provide financial support to ensure the students have a roof to stay under while learning.
Mental Health America. The strains of trying to get an education while also wondering where you’ll sleep or when your next meal will be is enough to create massive amounts of stress and anxiety in anyone. If a higher-ed institution doesn’t have adequate mental health counseling services, this organization provides a list of all the community wellness centers that provide free or heavily-discounted services.
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth. Although this website is mainly focused on helping educators learn about homelessness among students, it’s a great resource for learners who aren’t sure about their rights and responsibilities. Like the standardized test and application waivers discussed here, NAEHCY has valuable information on other discounted or free services for which students may be eligible.
The National Coalition for the Homeless. Although the NCH provides many different services for people experiencing both long and short-term homelessness, one of the best services for college students is access to medical care. Use the map to find a provider able to provide care if this is a service you need.
Let’s talk about another important issue: transportation. Resources for this service will vary by location, but prospective students without reliable and regular transportation may want to consider the location of the school they choose to attend. While many larger cities provide some type of public transportation, those in rural areas may be more difficult to navigate in terms of getting to school or getting to a job.
We hope you’ve taken heart and learned about the many services available – from schools, nonprofits, community groups and governmental agencies – to ensure homeless college students don’t have to be defined by their past. If a student is determined to continue their education, chances are there are many programs available to support you in that journey.
If you’re an educator looking for more information supporting students, consider reading the National Center for Homeless Education’s report entitled “Increasing Access to Higher Education for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth: Information for Colleges and Universities.”