Homeless Student Advocate Alliance aims to avoid homelessness
The housing situation at Humboldt State University has been a huge problem since 2016. In the last year, about 19 percent of HSU students were homeless, according to a recent study done by CSU Chancellor’s office social work professor Jennifer Maguire and CSU Long Beach social work professor Rashida Crutchfield.
Many students demand more housing. Fernanda Estrada, a junior in psychology, has lived on campus her entire student career and said her biggest fear is not being able to find housing within the next few years she has left here.
“I am still unsure whether I will even have granted housing next year, to live on campus,” Estrada said. “This school has a huge problem on not having a lot of housing for on campus living. For someone who doesn’t have a car, it is very hard to live off campus as well. I feel like a lot of students aren’t taking action into this situation, and they only will unless they are in this situation.”
We are mostly unaware of the students that are homeless. We see them on campus and don’t even know they’re having housing insecurity. We see these students in our classes, walking out on the quad, or even in the Depot without knowing they have nowhere to sleep. Christopher Regalado is a junior in marine biology who was homeless for a semester and knows how it feels to be homeless.
“It was really tough, I had to sleep from one friend’s place to another and I even had a tent, so sometimes I slept in the forest,” Regalado said. “I didn’t want to bother my friends all the time because that is their place and not mine.”
Regalado couldn’t find any housing available on campus or off campus. When he applied for housing on campus he’d gotten a waitlist number, which was 272. That number was far from a single digit number to even have a slight chance on getting a place to live.
“I really hope those students who are homeless currently know they aren’t alone…”
“I was really disappointed with how the system of on campus was set up,” Regalado said. “It is very unfair. I wouldn’t wish being homeless on anyone, it is such a stressful time.”
Regalado said he had a hard enough time being homeless for one semester and couldn’t imagine the students who are homeless for a year or more. Regalado hopes that housing changes very soon for those students suffering without a safe place to live.
“I really hope those students who are homeless currently know they aren’t alone, Regalado said. “And I hope they have supportive friends like I did at a time where I needed them the most.
On campus, there’s supportive advocates to help those students who can’t find homes.The Homeless Student Advocate Alliance, is a club that creates dialogue services and awareness of housing issues are overlooked. This club was started by Chant’e Catt, who is also the Off-Campus Housing Coordinator. Chant’e Catt assists students who are homeless to find homes off campus and helps support them.
“There is a lot of awareness now on campus, so professors and faculty staff know what to look for when they see a student in need so they do refer those students to me,” Catt said. “Also when students are brave enough to come out and find help, they are immediately directed to me.”
Many students want these housing issues to be improved and get better as time goes on. Catt said that the housing situation has improved throughout the years she’s been working on the issue.
“HSU, while people like to think we aren’t doing a lot, are actually the leader in solving and supporting the students around this need,” Catt said.
There has been a lot of people who blame the school itself, and the people that work within housing. Catt said that there is emergency housing on campus in the woodworks for next semester that can house one or two students. This
“I see a lot of progress going on for student basic need,” Catt said. “A lot of people like to blame a specific area or one person but in reality it is just a system failure in the institution.”
If you are currently going through a similar situation, you can contact Chant’e Catt at email@example.com.