The presidents of four Seattle-area universities and colleges have joined forces to declare May 13-17 as Affordable Housing Week on their campuses.
John R. Mosby, president of Highline College; Daniel J. Martin, president of Seattle Pacific University; Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., president of Seattle University; and Ana Mari Cauce, president of University of Washington, have signed proclamations or otherwise affirmed the importance of safe, healthy, affordable homes in communities of opportunity.
The higher-education institutions join King County and 25 King County cities in recognizing the benefits of affordable housing to everyone in the community.
Nationwide, 12 percent of community college students and 9 percent of university students are homeless, according to a national survey of 43,000 college students by Wisconsin HOPE Lab, summarized in an April 2018 report. The survey also found that 36 percent of university and 46 percent of community college students are housing insecure.
Students in South King County are also hit hard by lack of affordable housing, according to data from Washington school districts. During the 2017–18 school year, 3,737 students in the Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, and Tukwila school districts identified as homeless, up from 3,488 the year before.
To explore their role in addressing homelessness, local universities are hosting a first-time conference, “Higher Ed on Homelessness: Collaborating for Change,” Friday, May 10, in Seattle. About 75 to 100 faculty, staff and graduate students from more than 10 area higher-ed institutions will share their research, teaching, service learning, community engagement and advocacy best practices. The conference is hosted by Seattle Pacific University, Seattle University and University of Washington.
Affordable Housing Week, now in its fourth year, is hosted by the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County.