MCTC puts spotlight on "invisible" homeless student population

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October 25, 2010 // UPDATED 12:20 pm - November 4, 2010
By: Gregory J. Scott
Gregory J. Scott

// In the run-up to Thanksgiving, the community college will host events before and during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week //

The homeless aren’t just panhandlers sleeping out on bus benches. Some are couch surfers, underemployed and not earning enough to rent an apartment. Some are living in cars and campgrounds.

A shocking number are students, crashing where they can in between classes.

Out of 1,061 students that responded to a recent Minneapolis Community & Technical College (MCTC) survey, 103 said they were currently homeless. And 163 said they frequently could not afford a meal or groceries.

So as part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week — which runs Nov. 14–20, the week preceding Thanksgiving — MCTC is striving to call attention to this group of homeless individuals that often go unnoticed in the community.

Beginning Nov. 5 at 2 p.m., volunteers with the Students Against Hunger and Homelessness will stand on Hennepin Avenue street corners between Laurel Avenue and 16th Street holding signs with slogans like, “I’m a student and I am homeless.”

The campaign further unfolds over the rest of the month, with a photography exhibit co-sponsored by the Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness on display at MCTC. Entitled “Scratching the Surface: A Glimpse into Poverty and Homelessness,” the show features intimate images snapped at shelters around the Twin Cities. Faculty and students from MCTC’s Photography and Digital Imaging department have contributed work.

An opening reception is planned for Nov. 18, from 5–7 p.m., in the T Building Skyway on the school’s second floor.

Other events include film screenings, food and clothing drives and activities surrounding the area-wide Give to the Max Day on Nov. 16, a 24-hour philanthropy marathon and contest to support local nonprofits.

For more information on Give to the Max Day, visit givemn.org.

For a complete listing of MCTC’s November Fight to End Hunger and Homelessness events, visit http://mctcnews.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/end-hunger-homelessness/