By Aaron Berry
Homelessness isn’t new. But it often makes the news.
Earlier this year, the Seattle homeless encampment known as the Jungle made headlines after two people were killed in a shooting. Less depressingly, the University of Washington announced that it would host a tent city in winter 2017.
News stories aside, the statistics are simply overwhelming.
Last November, shortly after Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared a state of emergency in response to the rise of homelessness in King County, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that there are over 500,000 homeless on any given night in the United States. In King County alone, the annual One Night Count tallied over 4,500 homeless without shelter on January 29.
And according to FAFSA applications, there are over 58,000 homeless college students in the U.S., up 75 percent from 2012. If we take the HUD’s estimate of 1.5 million homeless people in the United States over the course of a year, this means that students make up roughly four percent of our nation’s’ homeless population.
Homelessness is a serious problem. But for those of us that aren’t homeless, it’s easy to ignore.
The purpose of this issue is to confront some of our own ignorance, willful or otherwise. To that end, we at the Ebbtide have gathered three stories from students who are or have been homeless, written about housing scams, living out of your car and different ways you can help alleviate some of the hardships people who are homeless face.
Maybe you don’t have time or money to donate. That’s okay. If you walk away from this issue with anything, remember that people who are homeless are people.