Aquinas College plans to provide a hotel room for a student who wouldn’t have had a place to stay when its campus closes for the holiday break.
The Catholic liberal arts school also said it wants to further discuss the issue of homelessness among college students and put policies in place so students without anywhere to go have future options, The Grand Rapids Press reported.
“I think our awareness of the needs of homeless students has been increased,” said Aquinas Provost Chad Gunnoe. I believe we can work “with community members and local and national organizations to try to come up with a sustainable solution for the future.”
The Grand Rapids school’s response comes after Aquinas senior Jessie McCormick created a petition on the change.org website asking school administrators to provide on-campus housing during holiday break for students without a permanent residence.
McCormick, who lives in student housing, became homeless as a teenager and was homeless as she finished high school and started at Aquinas. She has no home aside from her student housing.
“I look forward to working with the college to secure safe and stable housing for those who are in need over Christmas break,” McCormick said.
The 21-year-old said she knows of nine other students who need housing, and the school said it will offer them assistance if they step forward.
“Each person will come with a different set of needs and desires,” said Meg Derrer, Aquinas’ associate vice president of marketing and communications. “We’ll work with each one of them individually to find the most appropriate housing for them.”
Aquinas plans to begin exploring what long-term solutions are available for housing homeless students on campus during future holiday breaks, such as keeping one dorm or campus apartment open. Student housing is available during fall and spring breaks.