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UW students face food, housing insecurity, survey shows

Published on May 13, 2019

University of Washington Seattle
University of Washington Seattle. Image Credit: CC0 / Public Domain. Photo by Punctured Bicycle

Preliminary data from a survey of food and housing insecurity at the University of Washington’s three campuses shows that an estimated 190 students may lack a stable place to live, and about one-quarter of students have worried recently about having enough to eat.

Results of the online survey, conducted by UW faculty in 2018, are still being finalized. But an early look provides estimates of the numbers of students who could be considered homeless, who rely on food banks or skip meals, and for whom the costs of housing and food clearly present a challenge as they try to obtain a college degree.

As students nationwide grapple with the costs of living — hundreds of colleges and universities, including the UW, provide some form of food pantry, emergency housing and other forms of assistance — University of Washington faculty and administrators have wanted to identify the scope of the problem on the Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell campuses. Officials say these initial results help establish a baseline for quantifying, and addressing, food and housing issues among the university’s nearly 55,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

The idea for the survey began at a 2016 faculty summit hosted by Urban@UW, an interdisciplinary effort to tackle city issues through research, teaching and community collaboration. From that summit came the Homelessness Research Initiative (HRI), which connects faculty researchers involved in homelessness issues across the Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma campuses. HRI’s initiatives have supported faculty in their efforts to, for example, develop a multidisciplinary social change curriculum, and establish a safe community hub for social services and identifying housing- and food-insecure UW students. This study was initiated and implemented by the faculty researchers themselves under the umbrella of Urban@UW and with the help of partnerships across the three campuses.


Continue reading at UW News.

Originally written by Kim Eckart for UW News.
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