CSUSM programs help homeless students

Karen Ambrocio, News Editor

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Student homelessness is prominent in the majority of colleges and universities, especially in California State Universities (CSU) and here at CSUSM.

A 2015 study authorized by the CSU Chancellor, Timothy White conducted by a faculty member in CSU Long Beach concluded that 1 in 10 students experience housing difficulty.

A new study will be done by Jennifer Maguire from Humboldt State University who will show the statistics for student homelessness and food insecurity for each individual CSU.

On the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in 2013-2014, 10,000 students in California identified themselves as independent homeless youth.

At CSUSM, the Campus Assessment Response and Education (CARE) manager, Nick Mortaloni works directly with students to provide them information, resources and support.

“[We provide them] with anything they need to be successful,” said Mortaloni.

Faculty and staff can refer students who are facing financial struggles to Cougar Care Network (CCN). CCN guides students to various programs. CCN began in Fall 2015 and in the 2015-2016 school year has supported nearly 850 students.

If a student seeks shelter, the program will guide them to shelters that are impacted with homelessness. The county of San Diego connects students with the 211 line which has several resources that include shelters.

The Student Emergency Fund (SEF) is available through ASI. This is a quick one-time emergency fund students can receive that will help financially.

“Our role is to provide these resources for [students] … in order for them to succeed in college,” said Vice President of Student and University Affairs, Chris Morales.

The program directs students to the financial aid office to maximize their aid package if they are experiencing homelessness. It also helps students find a job and connect them with the Career Center or off-campus resources.

The CCN helps students communicate with the Student Health and Counseling Services.

“It would be normal for a student to have stress and anxiety over this. There’s a lot students can do to avoid it, they can come into therapy and learn how to deal with stress … and learn relaxation exercises,” said Associate Director of Student Health and Counseling Services, Allison Peters.

Students with financial struggles can communicate with Mortaloni and he helps students get connected with immediate support and long-term support.

“We call ourselves the Google of Cal State San Marcos [because] most people just start with Google for everything nowadays that’s what we want all students to see us as. We’ll point them in the right direction,” said Mortaloni.