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Santa Cruz graduates work together to end homelessness among students

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) UC Santa Cruz graduates are starting a project to provide temporary shelter to students experiencing homelessness during their studies.

Slug Shelter is a student-led organization that is not only meant to provide temporary housing to students attending UCSC but any college student in Santa Cruz.

Connor Kensok and Abbi Cundall were previously directors of a club on campus called Care, a volunteer club that catered to the homeless population in Santa Cruz. After seeing that several students were also in need of housing, they decided to follow a model from two schools in Southern California.

"College classes are notoriously hard," said Kensok. "And if you have to be working to pay for rent, on top of that, it just becomes impossible to succeed academically.”

The Slug Shelter is expected to provide housing and food for about 15 students.

According to a UCLA study, one in five students in California Community Colleges, one in ten students attending CSU’s, and one in twenty students attending a UC experience housing insecurity.

The UCSC Director of News and Media Relations Scott Hernandez‑Jason said the school also has an emergency housing program at no cost for students.

"Students want to have housing that's affordable and reliable," said Hernandez‑Jason. "There are so many benefits to living on campus that we want to continue to make sure that's available both to our first-year students who are coming in, but also students who are in their junior and senior years.”

Additional housing for UCSC is still pending. But, the Slug Shelter hopes to open its doors to students by the end of this year.

"We're still looking for a location right now," said Cundall. "So we've been reaching out to several different organizations in the community to see if they will provide housing for or like space for us to work in.”

The Slug Shelter is seeking funding from grants and donations to reach its $100,000 goal. Donations can be made through their GoFundMe.

Education / Local News / Santa Cruz / Santa Cruz County / Top Stories / Video
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Jonathan Sarabia

Jonathan is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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