Homeless students counted in first-of-its-kind survey at Metro State

DENVER -- Megan Bunn looks like any typical college student walking through the campus of Metro State University in Denver. She’s a 28-year-old single mother who also works a part-time job, while staying busy with her studies to be a nurse practitioner.

However, her story is much different than that of her peers. Bunn used to be homeless while still going to school.

She joins nearly 200 other students who are or have been homeless.

“It's sad that we have to worry about housing on top of school, you know, there's other things we should be having to worry about as students,” said Bunn. “I just bit the bullet, started my first semester back at school and we just were homeless for a couple months while we were on the wait list for transitional housing.”

Bunn’s situation was highlighted in a first-of-its-kind, campus-wide study of the 18,000 students at Metro State.

The study found that 1 percent of students reported being homeless or having been homeless while enrolled in classes at Metro State, and one-third of those students were supporting a dependent at the same time.

“Because a third of these students are caring for dependents, one of the requests that they made in response to the survey is, 'Please can we have more affordable child care?’" said Randi Smith, a psychology professor and the creator of the study.

Bunn said it’s not easy, but she’s determined to climb out of poverty, thanks in part to some of the services offered at Metro State University.

“I'm not there yet. We're still paycheck to paycheck. It's a hustle…it's not given to me but I've found resources,” she said.

Smith said the study will likely be updated during the fall 2017 semester.


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