UNC Charlotte offers emergency housing for homeless students

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – According to the largest national survey assessing the needs of university students, housing insecurity affected 36 percent of students in the last year.

It’s more prevalent in Charlotte than you might think, so much so, that UNC Charlotte is trying something new.

“When I was homeless it was at the beginning of the semester due to my lease falling through,” Singletary said.

“They weren’t ready when it was time to move in so they kept pushing it back pushing it back,” she said.

She paid for an Air BnB for a while, but when school started and her apartment wasn’t ready, she started couch surfing.

“It’s kinda like you don’t want to be a burden to your friends so it was just really thinking about wow I have no personal space," she said. "I’m living out of my car.”

“The issue of homelessness or home insecurity is not a new issue, it’s an issue that’s impacting students across the country,” Larry Gourdine, Director of Student Assistance and Support Services, said.

“Students talked about how they had to go to Starbucks to get WiFi to do their homework, or they’d finesse their time to where they can be in the library for part of the day and then go to the gym to take a shower," she said.

Singletary found another school, Kennesaw State University, that was already offering it and pitched the idea to UNC-Charlotte.

“In Spring 2018 I went to Kennesaw, and then over the summer they kept things rolling and by the time I came back August they had these two rooms alotted here," she said.

“We are looking at possible fundraising to be able to lower the cost of that 35 dollars for students and then expand to be able to have additional rooms,” Gourdine said.

“The apartment I was moving into called me and said hey it’s ready," she said. "I remember crying. I’m going to cry right now. [I realized] wow I’m not homeless anymore, I’m not gonna couch surf, because I was kind of running out of options at that point.”

The housing program has been around since last fall and so far three students are taking advantage of it. Their goal is to get the word out about it and remove the stigma behind asking for help.

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