Homeless College Students Gain Attention on Web

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While homeless college students remain marginalized and the numbers are on the rise; journalists are seizing the opportunity to raise awareness about the budding epidemic.

New York city officials are noticing that the homeless youth is a growing issue that isn’t going away anytime soon. According to Nikita Stewart of the New York Times, homeless young people  are “overlooked and underserved.”

The city’s facing a shortage of beds for the homeless due to the multitude of unaccounted-for homeless young people. The city’s clamored with sexually-abused and former foster care children who’ve aged-out of the system.

In New Jersey, the Mayor of Bridgeton, Albert B. Kelly is challenging his residents to assist the displaced youth in his community.

Ramone Williams, a 26-year-old Eastern Michigan University student recently requested that his donors put their funds toward helping other homeless college students. He was living out of his car before his story was published by The Washington Post.

Many other homeless young people are still struggling, but members of the press are avidly raising awareness on their behalf.

 

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The City of Winter Park Showcases Grandeur Sculptures in Central Park

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La Porta de’Haiti by Edouard Duval-Carrie, a sculpture located in Central Park in Winter Park, FL on Saturday December 19, 2015.
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La Porta de’Haiti by Edouard Duval-Carrie, a sculpture located in Central Park in Winter Park, FL on Saturday December 19, 2015.
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La Porta de’Haiti by Edouard Duval-Carrie, a sculpture located in Central Park in Winter Park, FL on Saturday December 19, 2015.
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Love Life by Maria Cristina Carbonell, a sculpture located in Central Park in Winter Park, FL Saturday 19, 2015.
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Love Life by Maria Cristina Carbonell, a sculpture located in Central Park in Winter Park, FL Saturday 19, 2015.
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Love Life by Maria Cristina Carbonell, a sculpture located in Central Park in Winter Park, FL Saturday 19, 2015.

Art on the Green returns to Park Avenue from Sunday, November 1 through Tuesday, March 1, 2016. The 11-acre exhibit is free and open to the public.

AoG features seven grand-scale sculptures by seven individual artists. Emmett Moore, Edouard Duval Carrie, Lydia Azout, Maria Cristina Carbonell, Cristina Lei Rodriguez, Frances Trombly and Robert Chambers are the esteemed artists.

Each piece is strategically placed in the park, allowing visitors to admire and read about the individual nuances of each sculpture. While some are more obvious, others like, Trombly’s Caution, focus on challenging onlookers’ perceptions of art.

The artwork is visible during the day but Central Park is lit with their special features during the evening hours as well.

Guest curator and organizer, Suzanne Delehanty, aimed to encompass the natural aesthetic of Winter Park while incorporating modern art into its scenery.

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Points of Pine by Emmett Moore, a sculpture located in Central Park in Winter Park, FL on Saturday December 19, 2015.
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Points of Pine by Emmett Moore, a sculpture located in Central Park in Winter Park, FL on Saturday December 19, 2015.
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Points of Pine by Emmett Moore, a sculpture located in Central Park in Winter Park, FL on Saturday December 19, 2015.
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Guardian Solar V by Lydia Azout, a sculpture located in Central Park in Winter Park, FL on Saturday December 19, 2015.
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Guardian Solar V by Lydia Azout, a sculpture located in Central Park in Winter Park, FL on Saturday December 19, 2015.
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Guardian Solar V by Lydia Azout, a sculpture located in Central Park in Winter Park, FL on Saturday December 19, 2015.
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A flower withers in the heart of downtown Winter Park in Central Park on Saturday December 19, 2015.

For more information visit the City of Winter Park’s website and the Art on the Green official page. For city events and updates be sure to follow Winter Park’s Facebook Page.

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Forever21 Donates $1.5M in Clothing for 2015 Holiday Season

Forever21 CEO Don Won Chang is pictured with his wife,Jin Sook, on Thursday, April 29, 2010. They attend an opening of a Forever 21 store in Tokyo. Photo taken by Shuji Kajiyama for the Associated Press.

As Black Friday sales decline by more than 10 percent for the second year in a row, many consumers are having moral conflictions about shopping during the holiday season.

While some buyers opt-out on heavy shopping during the holidays, some patron retailers who donate to charity during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Forever 21 has partnered with Soles4Souls to donate one article of clothing for every piece of clothing that’s bought by the store’s shoppers.

Signage of a Forver21 model in Time Square interacting with citizens in real time. Taken by Jonathan Fickies for the Associated Press on Thursday June 24, 2010.

Efforts like Forever21’s eases the worries of some.

“I know Forever21 is a good company because they always donate to charity during Christmas time. I also love them because they put John 3:16 on the bottom of their bags,” said Laurika Jude, a Caribbean native and Forever 21 patron of over five years.

Socially-conscious social media users and shoppers worry about being sucked into the ever-growing consumerism that America has fallen victim to.

The retailer has pledged to donate clothing up to $1.5 Mill to the non-profit. Sole4Souls is an organization whose mantra is, “Wearing out poverty,” a slogan that compliments Forever21’s CEO, Don Won Chang’s beliefs.

Donate to Soles4Souls this season by purchasing from Forever21’s website or locally in stores.

 

 

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Orange County fighting homelessness with grants and housing

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Orange County fighting homelessness with grants and housing

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George Doe, a homeless resident of Orange County who camps in an abandoned parking lot on Semoran Blvd on November 20, 2015.
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The camping grounds of an abandoned parking lot in Orange County on Semoran Blvd in which several homeless people live. Taken on November 20, 2015.
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DSC_0012 The camping grounds of an abandoned parking lot in Orange County on Semoran Blvd in which several homeless people live. Taken on November 20, 2015.
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DSC_0025 The camping grounds of an abandoned parking lot in Orange County on Semoran Blvd in which several homeless people live. Taken on November 20, 2015.
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DSC_0026 The camping grounds of an abandoned parking lot in Orange County on Semoran Blvd in which several homeless people live. Taken on November 20, 2015.
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DSC_0028 The camping grounds of an abandoned parking lot in Orange County on Semoran Blvd in which several homeless people live. Taken on November 20, 2015.

 

Orange County has pledged to appropriate millions of dollars in funds to combat the homeless epidemic in Orlando and its surrounding areas. With Florida being third in homelessness nationwide and central Florida leading the state in displaced people – the state is attempting to dissolve the issue.

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The city of Orlando’s commissioners recently invested $1.5 million in rapid housing – otherwise known as the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. The program prevents chronic homelessness among families and destitute individuals by providing them with monetary assistance and rental assistance including utility deposits.

An average one bedroom apartment rents for $957 within 10 miles of the city of Orlando. The estimate doesn’t include utilities or food expenses.

The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless lists affordable housing as the solution to homelessness. Their reasoning is justified and certainly applicable when looking at Orange County’s housing prices and cost of living.

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According to Forbes, the cost of living in the Orlando-Sanford-Kissimmee area is .4 percent higher than the national average.

According to the calculator provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the living wage is defined as the hourly amount in which an individual should earn by working full-time in order to support his or her family.

The living wage in Orange County is $11.13 per hour for a single adult with no children. The poverty wage is $5.00 per hour and the minimum wage is $7.93.

The problem exists because the minimum wage is closer to the poverty wage than it is the actual living wage.

An income of $23,151 is estimated to be an adequate amount to cover living expenses in Orange County.

The central Florida public administration isn’t the only entity combatting homelessness in the city. Florida Hospital is replacing ER visits with homes for the homeless community.

The hospital is dedicating $6 million to diminish homelessness.

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Hawaii’s impending homeless issue has inspired other states to pay attention to their own backyards. With 487 homeless people per 100,000 people, the state has been forced to resolve one of its most pressing problems.

Though New York City is renowned for its homeless population – the city’s government has announced that it will be investing $2.6 billion to provide 15,000 homes over the next decade and a half to its dispossessed.

While the rate of homelessness in the United States continues to rise and the dollar continues to decrease in value, it’s imperative that city officials continue to solve the issues of the people.

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‘I had to apply for food stamps’ homeless college students struggle for food

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The hungry college student motif has been a cliché among filmmakers and in American households. But now food insecurity among college students is a serious issue that’s being tackled by some of the nation’s most powerful representatives.

Lavonte Russell, an Albany State University alumnus and a Full Sail University graduate student studying film, has faced both homelessness and food insecurity while attending school.

Russell empathizes with those once in his position,

“I can’t tell you how many [students] struggle just to get a good meal on a daily basis, food stamps was how I was able to get by. I encourage anyone in college to do the same.”

Democratic Senator, Patty Murray advocates for food insecure university students by promoting bills that aid them. Her Twitter account is flowered with articles and infographics about homeless youth.

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Like Russell, thousands of other college students are applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. By taking out more college loans, low-income students are able to survive high tuition costs, books, clothing, home internet and other living essentials.

Colleges are now encouraging students to use the government program. Portland State University is one of many institutions that promote the program and explain the easiness in which students can obtain benefits.

Mount Wachusett Community College in Massachusetts has a similar page on their website that gives poor students a valuable resource.

The Washington Post reports that the state of Virginia spent nearly $2.3 million on SNAP benefits for college students in January of 2013.

There’s an outcry for SNAP benefits among college students on social media sites like Twitter.

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Even more than the difficulty of staying afloat during the academic school year, students face even more trials during college breaks.

The Huffington Post reported that as of winter 2013, 33,000 college students were homeless. Universities that close their dormitories during holiday seasons inadvertently cut the safety of their students in the process.

Some students who are without shelter, shower and even sleep in the buildings on college campuses.

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Sen. Murray was quoted by the Washington Post about her opinion on homeless university students.

“For many students, higher education can be a ticket to the middle class, so it is vitally important that students from all walks of life have the chance to go to college, further their education, and succeed,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Social Media Users Rally for Homeless College Students

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Professionals and activists alike are growing in awareness and advocacy for homelessness among college students. Since the emergence of the trending topic #HomelessatHoward – social media users and the public are becoming more aware of the growing epidemic. Jawanza Ingram, the now homeless Howard University student, has sparked meaningful conversation online about his dilemma. His case has become increasingly popular and has sparked healthy debate among social media users.

Educator and Assembly Member, Shirley Weber, took to her Twitter account to advertise an informational seminar entitled, Hunger, Homeless and Homework where she’ll host and disperse information about one of society’s growing ills.

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The event will be held at the University of San Diego on Nov 16, 2015 and is free and open to the public.

Like Weber, Bonne Stabile is an educator and a student of the government and its policies. While she teaches at George Mason University, she also hosts forums on homelessness, health and poverty as an advocate for the voiceless. She tweeted about a forum she held on GMU’s campus about homeless college students on Nov. 5.

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Stabile uses her status and knowledge to promote empathy among her peers and the student body.

Youth and family homeless expert, Mindy Mitchell of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, went to Facebook to ask, When Homeless Youth Attend College, Where do They Stay?

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The thought-provoking piece uncovers the issue of students having nowhere to live during campus breaks and holidays. A luxury most students take for granted.

Journalists, too, use their audience to advocate protection and support for these students. The Huffington Post’s Shadee Ashtari opened the eyes of readers by pointing out that homeless students live ‘double lives’. Ashtari attends UCLA and has written several socially-conscious pieces for the Post.

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In her article, she uses a University of Massachusetts Boston student as a living example of these poignant financial woes.

Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only places where social activists are communing to garner attention toward world issues. Google+ has communities that specifically cater to diverse issues like collegiate homelessness.

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Kelly Field of the Chronicle of Higher Education opened her article with anecdotal detail about a student who had scars on her arms from bed bug bites. Field follows higher-education policy for a living.

Social media is now opening new realms of sympathy in what most call a desensitized society.

Another Google+ share includes a compelling profile of a homeless student-athlete from the Guardian. Established reporter, Jana Kasperkevic, penned a story about an adopted 18-year-old whose parents refused to help him after he graduated high school.

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Foster children who have aged-out of the system are among the most neglected and impoverished among American youth.

Even the professionals and highly-educated members of the LinkedIn community are no strangers to destitute student-life.

Benjamin Taylor is the Chief Data Scientist at HireVue; an online company that integrates the intimacies of human interaction with business. He chose to immerse himself in a homeless lifestyle while he was attending college. He shared his experience with his LinkedIn connections.

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Brigette Rogers wrote a post that was unique from that of Taylor’s in that it focuses on students who aren’t impoverished by choice but by force.
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Rogers is the runs a lifestyle blog and offers insight into the difference between being a ‘broke’ college student and being a displaced one.

As the youth of America are living in harsh economic times, online users are rallying together to find solutions to a plethora of issues.

 

 

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Homeless College Students grows to 58K

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Homelessness among college students is ever-growing among Americans and its awareness has become increasingly popular on social media. According to USA Today, there are over 58 thousand homeless college students nationwide and Central Florida is no exception.

Valencia College, in Orlando, reportedly writes off more than $3.5 million annually for homeless students and other students in need.

The actual number of college students who are homeless is really unknown. The students who are counted marked themselves as homeless on their free application for federal student aid or FAFSA forms.

Many college students aren’t aware of the benefits of revealing their true living situations for fear of the stigmas that are attached to openly identifying as a homeless person.

Patrons on Twitter openly gripe about the struggles of homelessness among university students.

University of Wisconsin Madison professor of education policy and sociology, Sara Goldrick-Rab, tweeted about the discomfort that financially-challenged students feel while on campus, “We need to make all homeless students feel welcome on college campuses,” she wrote last month.

 

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University of Wisconsin Madison professor of education policy and sociology, Sara Goldrick-Rab, tweets, “We need to make all homeless students feel welcome on college campuses,” on Oct. 31, 2015.

 

Goldrick-Rab isn’t alone in her endeavors to raise awareness and change perceptions of homelessness in America.

The Sustainable Families Foundation tweeted about Atlanta’s Kennesaw State University’s CARE Program.

The program assists food insecure and homeless students in the area. It provides, linens, food, career planning and other assets to promote stability among struggling students.

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The Sustainable Families Foundation tweeted about Atlanta’s Kennesaw State University’s CARE Program on Nov. 1, 2015.

 

WWLP of Springfield, MA posted to its Google + Account, “What’s being done to help college students who are also homeless?”

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WWLP of Springfield, MA posted to its Google + Account, “What’s being done to help college students who are also homeless,” on Oct 28, 2015.

 

Though not in the spotlight, the issue is growing with the attention it’s getting.

Experts estimate that there are 15 to 20 homeless students on University of Central Florida’s Campus.

Though some students are not physically living on the streets, their lifestyles and living situations are unstable – hence classifying them as homeless people.

According to the Homeless Hub, there are four different types of homelessness. Many college students fall under the sub-category, “People living temporarily with others, but without guarantee of continued residency or immediate prospects for accessing permanent housing.”

 Among the most popular social media platforms, Twitter and Tumblr users are both the most knowledgeable and the most adamant about solving the issue.

These social advocates pass along information for donation sites like Gofundme as well as invaluable information like why homeless people should invest in gym memberships.

Tumblr blogs like Secretly Homeless, simultaneously raise awareness, debunk myths and provide healthy tips on living below the poverty level.

A homeless college students awareness page features interviews and statistics for its followers.

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A screenshot of the Homeless College Students Awareness Tumblr page that raises awareness about the financial disparities homeless university students face daily (hcsawareness.tumblr.com).

 

With the growing number of homeless college students and the stifling grip the economy has on the poor – it’s evident that millennials have a clear understanding of their influence in the world of mass media.

 

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Orlando Frat Raises Funds for Give Kids the World

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Recent reports show that pesticide use in the home is connected to autism and childhood cancers. Children’s exposure to indoor insecticides puts them at a nearly 50 percent higher risk of hematopoietic cancers.

With childhood cancer on the rise, organizations find it imperative to not only raise awareness but to also raise funds to fight the epidemic.

Lambda Theta Phi, a Latin Fraternity organizes events to raise donations for the non-profit, Give Kids the World.

Give Kids the World grants terminally ill children the wish of enjoying Give Kids the World Village, a 79-acre theme park, free of cost.

The Orlando Alumni Chapter, Lambda Beta, hosted a comedy show at Bonkerz Comedy Club to accept donations from both patrons and members on behalf of the organization.

Kenneth Reyes, Director or Relations, stated the importance of supporting terminally ill children.

“Children who aren’t granted the opportunity and the same joy as the rest of us have more to bear. We do our part to make sure that we help in any way that we can,” he said.

Pest control chemicals, store-bought insect killers have been linked to these cancerous illnesses as well.

Some weed killers have even been linked to bone cancer in adults.

Alternatives to these chemicals include organic and all-natural pesticides, including home-made products.

 

 

 

 

 

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Florida Artists Shine at Winter Park Arts Festival

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Lissa Hatcher is an atypical photographer whose art is a juxtaposition of paint and portraiture. She’s been in the industry for 15 years and has been featured in several Floridian tradeshows –including Winter Park’s Autumn Art Festival.

The Winter Park Autumn Art Festival is held in Central Park on October 10-11, 2015. The second weekend in October has been reserved for the event the past 42 years.

The long-standing tradition has generated a sense of community pride, a boost in the local economy and an introduction to Winter Park Fashion Week.

Hatcher has created her own genre of photography. Not only because of her whimsical flair but also because of the lack of jobs in the field.

“There are no more jobs for [photographers],” Hatcher said.

The rise of social media and the popularity of Instagram have generated an onslaught of aspiring photographers who are attracted to the glamour of the field but who don’t have the skill to execute photography professionally.

The looseness of the term has buried champion artists in a stack of hashtags, likes and instantaneous uploads.

Art festivals give timed and manicured artists and photographers the attention of admirers in-person.

Painter and art collector Aaliyah Harold, visits several music and art festivals a year. Winter Park’s is one of her favorites.

“There’s nothing like being able to look at a physical photo or a beautiful sculpture that’s right in front of you. The internet just doesn’t do it for me,” Harold said.

WPAAF is expecting over 200,000 attendees for the 2015

Events like showcases and festivals offer a chance to connect with artists, like Hatcher, in a more charismatic setting.

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Residents trust farmer’s markets more than big franchises

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Despite the on-and-off-again rain – Downtown Orlando’s Farmer’s Market, located at Lake Eola Park, was filled with hungry and health-conscious patrons. Saturday October 4, 2015 had a forecast filled with cloudy skies, a slight breeze and light rain.

The brisk autumn winds didn’t deter farmer’s market goers. Studies show that citizens trust farmer’s markets more than big grocers.

The Orlando area has several markets that are increasingly popular.

Their popularity isn’t solely in Orlando – it’s national and so are the concerns of American citizens.

Trish Delaney, a Florida resident of 25 years, chooses to shop for produce at local farmer’s markets because she feels that the food is safer for her family.

“All of these foods are covered in pesticides or are injected with antibiotics – nothing is safe anymore. I can’t sit and feed my children chemicals. At least [at farmer’s markets] I know the food is organic and I know where it’s coming from,” Delaney said.

With many grocery stores selling genetically modified meat and produce, the American public has turned to local farmer’s markets as a fruit, vegetable and spice go-to.

While Grocers like Whole Foods have been caught over-pricing their items, and others continue to distribute potentially harmful foods the American public is choosing to take a more intimate approach to grocery shopping.

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