HOMELESSNESS & HOUSING INSECURITY
Homelessness and housing insecurity is a growing challenge among students, employees, and community members, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. 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. In spring 2021, CUMU developed and granted a research fellowship to HRAC to support inquiry, implement an action summit, and develop a resource guide for individuals and groups working to address homelessness.
Homelessness & Housing Insecurity Resource Guide
The Homelessness & Housing Insecurity Resource Guide (PDF) is a resource to help you to engage in conversation, guide future research, and take action in support of your students, employees, and community. The resource guide provides frequently-requested materials and showcases new research and emerging best practices from CUMU member institutions. The guide is organized into the following sections:
- Survey tools to help you understand the scope of basic needs insecurity among your students and employees
- National studies on basic needs insecurity at colleges and universities
- Studies on academic impacts of basic needs insecurity among students
- Research centers studying homelessness and housing insecurity at CUMU member institutions
- Housing program examples to address homelessness and housing insecurity at CUMU member institutions
- Videos from CUMU events on homelessness and housing insecurity summit and follow-on activities
- Additional resources, including several with a specific focus on incorporating equity in research and operations
Housing & Homelessness Research Centers
Across the CUMU network, member institutions have launched research centers working to better understand and address homelessness on campus and in the broader community. These centers develop promising new approaches, spotlight established best practices, and share essential information.
Housing insecurity, homelessness, and food insecurity are widespread among U.S. college and university students, even at prestigious institutions. Understanding the scope of these issues at your institution is key to addressing them effectively. These tools and resources offer guidance on conducting surveys of basic needs insecurity and evaluations of basic needs programs.
- Guide to Assessing Basic Needs Insecurity in Higher Education (PDF)
- Researching Basic Needs in Higher Education (Google Doc)
- Housing & Food Insecurity at Portland State: Students (Google Doc)
- Housing and Food Insecurity at Portland State: Employees (Google Doc)
- Experiences of Housing Insecurity and Homelessness Among Students of Auraria Campus (Google Doc)
- USDA Food Security Surveys and Tools (website)
In 2021, CUMU’s Summer Action Summit focused on the growing challenges of housing insecurity and homelessness among students, employees, and community members—all through an equity lens. Recordings of the full group sessions are available here, along with other related videos, offering an overview of key questions, best practices, and the latest research in the field.
Housing insecurity and homelessness on campus
The role of higher education institutions in the broader community
Changing the narrative of homelessness
Addressing basic needs insecurity in college and university students
“This partnership will help us collaborate with universities and researchers around the country to identify how we can better address homelessness, particularly for people of color, on campuses and in communities through research and action.”
“Portland State’s Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative will serve as an excellent partner in furthering this work across the coalition. Addressing homelessness and housing insecurity for our students, faculty, staff and community is a critical issue area and one we are committed to not just talking about but making substantive progress on.”
“Homelessness is a complex problem that is vexing communities across the country. I am proud to see the expertise of the Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative recognized with this fellowship. The work that emerges from this collaboration will support Portland State’s mission as an urban serving university and our ongoing effort to pursue racial justice and equity.”
“We are truly honored to be recognized as a research fellow and excited for the potential as we continue to build on our work with CUMU and partner institutions.”
The Research Team
In spring 2021, CUMU developed and granted a research fellowship to HRAC to support inquiry, implement an action summit, and develop a toolkit for individuals and groups working to address homelessness.
The Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative brings together brings together expertise and skills from across Portland State University and the country to collaborate with people experiencing homelessness, advocates, service providers, leaders, and other stakeholders. Their goal is to reduce homelessness and its negative impact on individuals, families and communities with an emphasis on communities of color through solutions-oriented research
and evidence-based science.
|Dr. Marisa Zapata is an associate professor of land-use planning at Portland State University and director of PSU’s Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative. As an educator, scholar, and planner, Dr. Zapata is committed to achieving spatially-based social justice by preparing planners to act in the face of the uncertain and inequitable futures we face. She believes how we use land reflects our social and cultural values.|
|Jacen Greene is co-founder and assistant director of PSU’s Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative, a multidisciplinary research center dedicated to addressing issues related to homelessness. He graduated Beta Gamma Sigma with an M.B.A. in sustainability from Portland State University, and magna cum laude with a B.A. in China Studies from Willamette University.|