Homelessness and housing insecurity is a growing challenge among students, employees, and community members; the pandemic is only exacerbating this already large problem. According to a 2020 survey of college students by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, nearly three in five students had basic needs insecurity and 14 percent reported homelessness. Students of color, students with disabilities, and LQBTQ+ students face even greater disparities. Students enrolled at CUMU member institutions face similar rates.
In 2020, CUMU collaborated with the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative (HRAC) at Portland State University to establish a working group of ten CUMU member institutions with a shared commitment of developing solutions and actionable steps to address homelessness and housing insecurity. To further this work, CUMU seeks to create an applied research agenda to identify and share what campuses are already doing around research about and programming for homelessness, and to build network capacity to respond to homelessness as urban-serving institutions.
Related story: CUMU research fellowship granted to Portland State University Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative
2021 Summer Action Summit
Homelessness & Housing Insecurity at Urban Institutions and in our Communities: Roles. Responsibilities. Solutions.
CUMU is hosting a summer action summit to address issues of homelessness and housing insecurity for CUMU member institutions and their community partners. CUMU research fellow HRAC will lead the design and implementation with a focus on the growing challenges of housing insecurity and homelessness among students, employees, and community members—all through an equity lens.
The summit will take place virtually on July 27 and July 29. A follow-up session will be held on August 19. The summit is offered at no cost through the generous support of the Kresge Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The summit will be divided into two tracks:
- Track 1 will focus on how homelessness and housing insecurity impacts campus community members, including staff and people living or using resources on campuses, and what campuses can and could do in response to homelessness.
- Track 2 considers homelessness research and the role of institutions in the broader community.
Questions to be answered include:
- What research projects are college and university scholars engaging in?
- How are campuses working with community members to respond to homelessness?
- What else could colleges and universities as institutional actors, or their faculty, staff, and students be doing to co-construct knowledge, plans, and take action in partnership with community members?
Faculty, campus administrators in housing and student life, and community partners who work in the areas of housing insecurity, homelessness, and intersecting issues are ideal participants. Participants will gain new connections, a broader perspective on research and approaches, and resources to share with partners and colleagues.