The Campus Awareness, Resource and Empowerment Center at Kennesaw State cut the ribbon to the new University Village dorm room for homeless students on Aug. 10.
The University Village dorm room will shelter students for up to two weeks. Meanwhile, the CARE Center will help these students find permanent housing and employment. KSU will be the first university to offer an emergency dorm room to its homeless students.
A $25,000 donation from the Beacon Foundation in 2015 partially funded the dorm available to those who need it this fall.
KSU’s Student Government Association also assisted in the development of the dorm room. SGA President Victoria Brock, in her speech, said that their organization donated money and decorated the room with brand new bedding and bathroom décor.
This journey began five years ago when the director of residence life, Jeff Cooper, reached out to counseling services to help a homeless student. It started there, from that one student.
Marcy Stidum, the director of the CARE Center, said the University Village one-bedroom dorm was the ideal location. Since it is not a permanent living space, the one-bedroom can house a male student one day and a female could move in and use it the next. This potentially increases the number of people the CARE Center could assist, without bias.
A two-bedroom is being considered next, though it would be more complicated to house multiple students at a time due to differing lifestyles. Although there won’t be an emergency room on the Marietta Campus this school year, the CARE Center is considering one in the future when funding becomes available.
The CARE Center has provided a variety of services to current and potentially homeless students, such as food supply, linens and personal care, housing, and employment. On top of providing these services, students regain the ability to choose what to wear, eat and do with their lives.
“Poverty takes away choice,” said CARE Center Stidum. “I want them to have the privilege of self-selecting. Giving students the ability to choose is empowering.”