Homelessness Awareness Week seeks to end stigma, increase awareness

Homelessness Awareness Week seeks to end stigma, increase awareness

Right after Halloween, the Campus Awareness, Resource and Empowerment center will tackle the real horror that is homelessness during Homelessness Awareness Week.

HAW is a week-long endeavor by CARE services to raise awareness and eliminate the stigma about homelessness in the community. Nov. 6-11 marks the 10th-annual HAW held by the CARE center and will culminate with the Cobb County Candlelight Vigil, honoring homeless people who have passed away this last year.

HAW features simulations and informational sessions aimed at providing students with information and insight into homelessness. The simulations are designed to offer a new perspective on what homeless people deal with, and the informational sessions seek to inform through direct communication about the hardships and realities of homelessness.

HAW is also designed to directly benefit homeless people, as many events involve students donating their time and resources toward helping homeless people in the Kennesaw State community.

From putting together meal bags to donating swipes at The Commons, HAW offers a plethora of ways for students to help combat the different aspects of homelessness.

Volunteering is highly encouraged during HAW, as volunteerism and donations are how the CARE center accomplishes its goals. The CARE center website states that out of the students who participate, many are surprised to find that KSU students struggle with homelessness and financial insecurity.

According to a 2015 report by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the number of homeless persons, both sheltered and unsheltered, is anywhere from 200 to 499 in Cobb County. The areas closest to Atlanta are where the bulk of homeless persons are found in Georgia.

Organizations like the CARE center are vital for raising awareness about homelessness and for bolstering the resources available to homeless people.

According to the CARE center website, 25 students have had housing provided during 2017-2018, and 198 students have been served food from the CARE pantry.

CARE was formalized in May 2013 to handle increasing demands from students in need of assistance, according to the CARE website.

Feed the Future, which was the campus pantry, and HAW were both consolidated under CARE in Sept. 2014, and CARE has since then functioned as a point of access for at-risk KSU students.

Events will be held on both the Marietta and Kennesaw campuses, and students are encouraged to attend and support the cause.

More details can be found online on the CARE Services website under Homelessness Awareness Week, and students can use #KSUHAWCARES on Twitter.

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