Almost 10% of students at NC State University experienced homelessness in the past year, and nearly 15% dealt with food insecurity in the past month.
A new study from the university shows the rate of homelessness is higher than that of other universities. Meanwhile the rate of food insecurity is lower than other universities, but is consistent with food insecurity numbers for the state of North Carolina.
Higher educational institutions are not federally required to report on these statistics, but a growing number of schools are starting to self-report on their own numbers.
The study found minorities, such as women, people of color, or members of the LGBTQ community, were more likely to be affected by these issues. The study also found that most students who were eligible for help did not use resources available to them in part because they were unaware. A committee is working to address that, according to study co-author Dana Kotter-Gruehn.
“Having students know about those resources is really important, and as advisors we are trying to make sure that we are bringing up the conversation,” Kotter-Gruehn said. “We make sure we tell them about the multiple resources and we constantly remind them.”
The committee helped move the food pantry on campus from a basement to the center of campus so it's more visible for students. The committee also is working on developing a host-home program for short-term housing.
Study author Mary Haskett says one reason for the high rate of homelessness among students is the increasing lack of affordable housing in Raleigh.
“Our students are affected by it just like all the other citizens that live here,” Haskett said. “There are fewer and fewer places for students to land when they need to live off campus.”
Haskett said living on-campus can also be hard because dorms typically close over breaks. However, as of this academic school year, the university started leaving residence halls open over every holiday except winter break.
Both Haskett and Kotter-Gruehn said while small changes are being made, it’s up to university leadership to take action on a systematic level to address these issues.