Gwinnett County, about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta, is home to almost 900,000 residents residing in 16 municipalities. The county's local cooperative serving the northeast region recently distributed 44,000 pounds of food to the needy in two months. Many of the recipients lacked a permanent home.
Charged by our college mission to meet the “economic development needs of the growing and diverse population of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan region,” Georgia Gwinnett College experienced exponential growth from 118 students when it first opened in 2006 to its current enrollment of about 12,000 students. And about 10 percent of our “open-access” population lives on campus — but when classes aren't in session, some students are without a home.
A recent study revealed that about one in 10 of the 460,000 students in the California State University System self-identified themselves as homeless — a 75 percent increase compared to three years prior.
Often attempting to blend in, college students are reluctant to self-identify as being homeless. The Department of Justice estimates approximately 1.7 million youth between the ages of 12 and 17 experience some degree of homelessness each year in the United States. These students will continue to matriculate into higher education environments throughout the United States, often times disclosing their homelessness while interacting with trusted members of the campus community.