Community Outreach and Service Learning Hosts Events For Homeless Awareness

Community Outreach and Service Learning Hosts Events For Homeless Awareness

Community Outreach and Service Learning Hosts Events For Homeless Awareness

Homelessness can affect anyone, anywhere. According to a 2018 report from the Hope Center at Temple University, out of the 22,000 CUNY students who participated in the #RealCollege Survey, 48 percent said they were food insecure, 55 percent responded to be housing insecure, and 14 percent of CUNY students reported being homeless the previous year. That’s why here at John Jay, the Community Outreach and Service Learning (COSL) Center hosted two days filled with events to bring awareness to the issue of homelessness. On March 26, students and volunteers participated in The Helping Chain, where they filled bags with basic necessities, such as an emergency blanket, soap, hand sanitizer, deodorant and other toiletries. The students used the money from a recent bake sale to purchase all the products. The bags were to be donated to the Antonio Olivieri Drop-In Center, a center located in midtown Manhattan where homeless can drop in to eat, shower, and receive other services. At the 24-Hour Sleep Out held on March 27, COSL partnered with Habitat for Humanity to offer the John Jay community a glimpse into the daily life of a homeless person by sleeping on the floor at the College for 24 hours.

Al Eduardo, ’19
Al Eduardo, ’19

“Too often, when we walk by a homeless person and act like their invisible. We stigmatize this issue and give it an unnecessary negative backstory to justify not having to view them as human.”—Al Eduardo, ‘19

“The purpose of these events is to bring awareness to the issue of homelessness and to have an open discussion about this topic,” said COSL member Al Eduardo, ’19. “Too often, when we walk by a homeless person, we act like their invisible. We stigmatize this issue and give it an unnecessary negative backstory to justify not having to view them as human. Throughout all the events, we hope that people pause and think about what it takes to get a person from having a stable home to ending up homeless.” Attending both events, we spoke to students and COSL members to learn why this issue is important for the John Jay community to address.

Al Eduardo and Lisa Morales
Al Eduardo and Lisa Morales

The Helping Chain

Kelseey Anzures-Lincona, '19

Kelseey Anzures-Lincona

“After witnessing the recent winter storm in Chicago, where a lot of lives were lost, I felt that it was essential to bring awareness to what's going on and find ways to help out with homelessness. For me, it’s about giving a little bit of your time to cause a snowball effect of change.”

Lisa Morales, ’21

Lisa Morales

“Every day I see homeless people on the streets and instead of giving them money, I thought a good way to help them was to provide them with things that they need like hygiene products. They need these products and most of the time they can’t get them on their own. I hope that by participating here, people will become more aware and willing to help the homeless.”

Enrique Ruiz and Analie Amigun
Enrique Ruiz and Analie Amigun

Enrique Ruiz, ’21
“I read an article stating that in the span of five years, New York City went from being one of the top 40 most expensive cities in the world, to being one of the top 10. Participating in events like these takes the stigma off of homelessness and encourages those who need help to ask for the resources they need.”

Analie Amigun, ’19
“While I was putting things in the bag, I was imagining the person who lacked the simple things that we all take for granted. Doing events like these, really offers you a new perspective. It makes you stop and think about life.”

Jasmine Chevez ’21

Jasmine Chevez

“This event is about giving back to those in need because one simple bag could mean so much to somebody. And, it's about raising awareness, coming together as a community, building bonds and providing a helping hand.”

24 Hour Sleep Out

Giovanna Clemens, ’20

Giovanna Clemens

“We have this perception that homeless people are just those that we see sleeping outside, but that’s not always true. We could be sitting in class with someone who is homeless and never know it. The 30-day simulation, made it clear that homelessness can happen to anyone. During the simulation, we were given a specific income and then presented with scenarios that required us to use our money. I only lasted until day 17. This simulation showed me that we have to make sure that homeless people are aware of the resources available to them and tell them not to feel ashamed and embarrassed by their situation.”

Kimberly Castro, ’22

Kimberly Castro

“I know a couple of people in my life that are homeless, so I wanted to advocate for them since they don’t attend John Jay. Homelessness is not something that’s rare or that could never happen to you. I come from a low-income family, and for all I know, I could have been homeless. It can happen to anyone. The stigma surrounding homelessness, is that they are people who don’t want to work or don’t want an education, and that’s not the case. Often times they are people who do want to succeed, but don’t have the resources. I hope to spread this knowledge because sometimes it’s just the lack of knowing that leads to judgement.”

Cassandra De Ketelaere, ’20

Cassandra De Ketelaere

“Habitat for Humanity did this event last year but we decided to partner with COSL to increase awareness. Even though this simulation isn’t happening outside, we hope that people get a sense of what it’s like to sleep on the floor, not have a bed, and to not have the basic necessities we take for granted every day. We are hoping that the homeless students at John Jay know that we are here for them, that we support them and that there are organizations here that can provide them with resources.”