There are weeks when Xavier McMillon, 23, knows he can rely on a friend to put him up for a night or two. But there are far too many other days when the Houston Community College student scrambles to find a place to stay or money to eat. It wasn’t always like this, he said. A few months ago, he was sharing an apartment with his best friend and holding down a job. But a dispute over mold infestation got them evicted, and too many sick days because McMillon couldn’t afford his HIV meds got him fired.
“Right now it’s real hard to try to go to school, try to get a job and try to find a place,” said McMillon, who is taking the semester off. “I try not to let a lot of people know about everything that’s going on with me. I don’t like people having to worry.”
Many students suffer the same housing and food insecurity that plagues
In a survey of more than 33,000 students at 70 community colleges across the country, researchers found that 14 percent were homeless, and one in three were going hungry while pursuing a degree. The findings lay bare the reality of a population of students who remain largely invisible on college campuses.
Homelessness and hunger among college students is prevalent in all regions of the country and is not isolated to urban or high-poverty areas, according to the report. Students with children were more likely to experience food and housing insecurity than those without. Nearly a third of students going without food or shelter held jobs and received financial aid, and many work long hours at low-wage, low-quality jobs and get little sleep, the study showed.
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