A tent sits in the UC Quad for the Homeless Student Advocate Alliance event Housing: Indigenous Insight on Nov. 30. | Diego Linares

Homelessness awareness

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By | Juan Herrera

Being homeless is a spot where not many people would like to be but if the situation appears you always need to be prepared.

The Homeless Student Advocate Alliance (H.S.A.A), a club at Humboldt State, put on a three day event to inform, share and educate the students and community about the severity of homelessness in Humboldt County.

Chant’e Catt, president of the club, said for this being their first annual three day event it was educational and they got their message across.

“Our main purpose of the event is to let other homeless students know they’re not alone,” Catt said. “And I believe we achieved a majority of that.”

Catt said the first day of the event was more personal for others by students and members of the community sharing their own stories of past and present times of homelessness in their life. Catt herself even spoke about her own times being homeless when she and her family first moved to Humboldt County.

“I first hand know the struggles of moving from place to place,” Catt said.” For my first 14 weeks in Humboldt County I was constantly trying to find a secure place for me and my two children.”

Catt said majority of the students that are homeless at HSU are not because they do not have the money. but purely because the lack of housing Humboldt State and the County provides.

Daniela Parada, another member of the club, said the second night of the event was the most eye-opening night. The night went into the meaning of what being “homeless” actually is.

“We wanted to talk about the stigma and labeling that gets put on the homeless community,” Parada said. “Most people assume that anybody who is homeless is dirty, smelly and just plain ole gross.”

Parada said most of the time that is hardly ever the case. According to her, a person who goes from couch to couch but still showers daily, dresses nice, etc., is still considered homeless. Would you still call that person smelly and gross?

Parada said the last night of the event was the most hands-on activities they put on. They showed students and members of the community how to put together and take down a tent and also how to start a fire almost anywhere.

“Personally this was the most educational night for people who attended our event,” Parada said. “Even though we could not start a real fire, people definitely got the hang of how to start one.”

Arri Sanders, a senior at HSU, said how the event was personal and a huge eye-opener for her.

“I remember when one of my best friends was going through a similar situation,” Sanders said. “I honestly did’t realize some of the embarrassments or things homeless people had to go through until hearing it first hand.”

Sanders said even though her friend wasn’t nearly in as bad as a spot as some she still realized part of what she went through. Sanders said now looking back at it she wishes she would have tried to offer her friend more then what she did.

Sanders had one last message for people who have friends who are homeless.

“Please! Please! Even if they don’t ask for it, offer any help you can, because they do need it.” Sanders said.

 

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