Student Housing Security Initative
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Affordable housing for college students is needed in Fort Collins.
With a shortage of such housing, a number of students are housing insecure or homeless. LuMin is working to respond to the need in our community. Our initiatives for 2020 include:
- providing free access to newly installed washers and dryers at LuMin so that students can wash their clothing.
Low-income students can schedule a time to bring over laundry (no more than two students at a time... distanced and masked) to do their wash and have access to snacks, showers, and WiFi while they wait.
- opening up our chapel as free storage for students who find themselves displaced during the semester.
Short-term housing insecurity often happens during the semester for students who are just getting by on a couch or living out of their car and that option runs out. Since we are not using our chapel as a place of worship during the pandemic, we are opening that space up as storage if a student needs to put their personal property somewhere during a transition in housing.
- seeking short-term housing options.
Occasionally, a person who can not afford the down payment and rent of an entire year will jump around from "couch to couch." If this causes a temporary gap in a place to stay, LuMin hopes to find temporary "bed" until the student can find longer-term housing. At this time LuMin has not secured housing or funding, but is diligently working this school year respond to this need.
A part of a bigger plan...
LuMin is working through a three point plan to find some answers to student housing insecurity and homelessness.
Most every discussion about college students experiencing housing insecurity ultimately ends with the need for low-income/subsidized student housing. With that in mind opening the building so that students can do their wash is being used as means to the end. The ministry does not want to assume that it knows the unique needs of CSU students. Rather, the laundry service is seen as a “front door” to welcome students in so that the wide variety of students using the center can teach the LuMin the best ways of supporting CSU students experiencing housing insecurity in the Fort Collins community. This will shape how we provide housing in the future.
With the drop-in center as the first step, the steering team hopes to provide a small amount of housing, 4 to 8 beds, in apartments or homes. This phase we call the “glass door” as a way of starting to see the many aspects of providing “a home.” On the one hand, how we can surround the students with intentional community, while on the other hand, understanding and responding to the level of liability in offering support.
The long term plan would be providing a larger amount of low income or subsidized housing. Possibilities include building low-income housing for college students or becoming a “master leaser” using the floor of an existing apartment complex. This would take university and community partnerships and major donor investment. The “open door” goal will be in place so students can come to college without being encumbered by housing uncertainty, be supported by an intentional community, and leave having completed a degree. This would be an equitable goal for all students that come to the university. Everyone is valued! Each person is able to become self-sustaining. All students graduate having been secure in a safe place to live and with enough food to eat. Systems are changed so that basic needs do not hinder the opportunities of a future college student.