Cal State leaders and students converged at a conference Monday aimed at finding solutions to a Cal State Long Beach study that found one in 10 of the state system’s students is homeless.
Specifically, the study discovered that another one in five of the university’s students doesn’t have steady access to enough food.
Long Beach-based Cal State Chancellor Timothy White commissioned the study last year, after CSULB won a $100,000 grant to help address an issue that, until now, has remained largely undocumented.
More than 150 administrators, researchers, students and advocacy groups gathered at a conference in Long Beach to exchange ideas, case studies and their personal experiences with the issues. At the conference, White emphasized the Cal State system’s role in systematically tackling homelessness at its campuses.
Experts have praised Cal State for its efforts in quantifying the scope of homelessness in higher education with limited data, as homelessness in any form is difficult to study and measure accurately.
Clare Cady, the former director of Oregon State University’s program to support homeless students and current director of the nonprofit Single Stop told the Los Angeles Times that the number of homeless students in higher education is underreported and largely unknown.
The study was led by Cal State Long Beach professor Rashida Crutchfield, told the Los Angeles Times that students with unstable housing conditions are not required to say they are experiencing distress. The study’s findings indicated that 8 to 12 percent of Cal State’s students are homeless, and 21 to 24 percent are food insecure.
“CSULB is committed to providing services and resources that support the success of all students," CSULB President Jane Close Conoley said in a statement last year. "Those living with food or housing insecurity face additional challenges to reaching their educational goals, so it is imperative that we do all we can for this group."