California has the highest number of people experiencing homelessness in the country, causing the population of at-risk children and youth to becoming even more marginalized, particularly those who are still attending school.

Interestingly, this demographic is continuing to show that they are motivated to stay in school and defy the challenging circumstances that include homelessness, domestic violence, unmet special education needs, out-of home foster care, among others. However, there is a practical limit to this: poor nutrition, unsteady sleep, and lack of a safe place to study all predictably lead to poor academic performance.

Collegiate homelessness is less understood because it is hard to identify.


Poor people do not go to college [1]


All low-income students receive financial aid [2]


College students do not have outside jobs [3]


(1) To provide a safe, supportive environment for fellow college students experiencing homelessness by fostering a collaborative effort between universities, community-based organizations, and service providers.

(2) To empower shelter volunteers to become social justice leaders, philanthropists, and innovators.

(3) To be an open-source model for other universities to create student-run shelters.


  1. Ringer, Brialle D. (2015) "College Students Experiencing Homelessness: The Consequence of Failed Macro Policies,"McNair Scholars Research Journal: Vol. 8: Iss. 1, Article 9.
  2. Alfano, H. J., & Eduljee, N. B. (2013). Differences in work, levels of involvement, and academic performance between residential and commuter students. College Student Journal, 47,


  1. Homes for the Homeless (1993). “Access to Success: Meeting the Education Needs of Homeless Children and Families” Institute for Children and Poverty.
  2. National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, 2013. [Accessed 2016-06-10]