Kennesaw State opens first-of-its-kind housing for homeless students

When fall classes begin later this month, Kennesaw State University will open with a new housing option to help homeless students attending the college.

The school is opening an on-campus suite for emergency housing for these students and those at risk of homelessness. The one-bedroom apartment, mixed in with KSU’s existing University Village student residences, is designed as temporary housing for up to 14 days while school officials find permanent residences for students.

“Across the state and country there aren’t many options for homeless college students. The sacrifices and risks they are taking just to go to college are hard,” said Marcy Stidum, coordinator of KSU’s Campus Awareness, Resource & Empowerment center that helps homeless students.

There are currently between five and seven students sleeping in cars, hotels or on friends’ couches, Stidum said. “With this room, this provides us with a safe place for them, where no one will know the difference between them and any other student.” The emergency housing is likely the first of its kind among Georgia colleges and universities, she said.

Kennesaw State and Stidum have been nationally recognized for their work with homeless students. The school was the first in the state to have staff dedicated to working with those students. Stidum's office has also expanded its efforts to assisting foster students making the transition from high school to college, and establishing a second food pantry on Kennesaw State's Marietta campus.

The emergency homeless housing, is being funded through a $25,000 donation from Kennesaw-based Beacon Foundation Charitable Trust.

A dedication ceremony for the suite is scheduled for Wednesday.