Homelessness Among Students

Seattle student and EvCC staff discuss displacement.

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Jane Bowman

Homeless people in Everett, Washington camping under the bridge on Smith Ave.

The ground is wet and the temperature is barely above 40 degrees fahrenheit. A man slumps against a wire fence, his hand rests on the lower tray of a shopping cart filled with his possessions. Crows ravage the scattered trash around him. A few feet away is a makeshift shelter of cardboard boxes and blue tarp, secured with a rope and duct tape, that sways as the wind blows.

On the far south side of Everett, in a wooded corner of Airport Road and 112th St., what seems to be a dumpsite from a distance is a homeless camp. These are just a few of homeless sights around the city.

Jane Bowman
A tent erected in the corner 112th St. and Airport Rd. in Everett, Washington.

Everett Community College participated in a statewide survey called #RealCollege Survey. Out of the 13,550 respondents, around 50% of students deal with housing insecurity, and about 40% faced food insecurity in 2018.

Calvin Murphy, a 27-year-old community college student in Seattle, has been homeless for six months. After three semesters in college, Murphy dropped out with $10,000 in student loans. Sometimes he sleeps in a garage of his friend’s house or in a church who temporarily takes him in. Most of the time, he lives in his car and moves from one parking lot to another. At night, he uses layers of blankets to stay warm.

“Some people are not very nice,” Murphy said. While experiencing homelessness, Murphy conducts a social experiment. He believes that some people are judgemental towards those who are experiencing homelessness. On the other hand, he also admits that he stays away from many of the people on the streets who just want to do drugs.

Murphy doesn’t have a permanent job but ultimately wants to focus on his music. He plays music on the city streets to make a little money. He says he will consider going back to college if he can do it for free.

Many people are not willing to discuss their experience with homelessness, and finding assistance even for other basic necessities can be difficult. But, for the students of EvCC, there are resources that can be utilized without questions.

The EvCC Food Pantry is open Monday through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m. where students who are in need can get some food items and limited school supplies.

Jane Bowman
Kelsey Lindstrom, is the The Able Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) Navigator for EvCC. She works in the food pantry at EvCC once a week.

Kelsey Lindstrom is The Able Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) Navigator for EvCC. Lindstrom’s primary responsibility is to work with ABAWD. She can provide assistance with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application and connects recipients with implement training programs in college or in the community that will help them meet work requirements to stay eligible for SNAP.

Lindstrom also assists in providing resource referrals to those who are struggling with transportation, childcare, food assistance and housing. She is collaborating with the EvCC Food Pantry to address food insecurities on campus.

For more information contact Lindstrom at (425) 388-9989 or email her at [email protected] Her office is located at Parks Student Union 333.