Radford University starts program to curb number of homeless students

RADFORD (WSLS10) – Figures show there are 58,000 homeless students in America. It’s a growing concern for colleges and universities in Southwest Virginia. Recently, Radford University found one way to help those without a steady place to live.

They started the Helping to Eradicate Homelessness through Resource Opportunities Program that started in April of 2016. School leaders said the goal is to help students succeed when life comes with it challenges.

One student who didn’t want to be identified said the program helped him after he lost his job in the spring.

“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, I knew I didn’t have reliable friends,” the unidentified student said.

School leaders said there are a variety of factors of why students are homeless.

It ranges from students financial aid being delayed, conflict with roommates or even parents getting sick which is why leaders at Radford say they have the program in place to make sure students can still achieve when life gets difficult.

They said they offer employment assistance, alleviating housing concerns, and provide emergency financial assistance.

“Students were very appreciative, anyone that was experiencing homelessness found this as an awesome resource, and I don’t think college students don’t anticipate there will be that resource for them,” Crasha Townsend, the Director of Diversity and Inclusion said.

School leaders say housing has an effect on students education — 32 percent of students in a nationwide survey agreed.

Over half, 53 percent reported missing class and 25 percent dropped a class which is why leaders are glad they have the hero’s program in place.

“it’s very refreshing to know that Radford University has a process in place to assist students that are done in a very confidential way,” Irvin Clark, the interim VP of Student Affairs said.

So far about half a dozen students have used the program.

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