Meelia Center brings awareness of hunger and homelessness in NH

Caroline Quinn, Crier staff

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As students walked across the lower quad this week, they may have been reading statistics about homeless in the United States. These raw statistics were educating our campus about the homelessness as a part of the Meelia Center Homeless Awareness week which was kicked off this week.

As a part of the week, the Meelia Center had a food drive going which was meant to send food to the YMCA in Manchester. There was also a panel to discuss how the opioid crisis affects homelessness in Manchester.

On Wednesday, there was a discussion with social workers from the Manchester school district. The goal was to the challenges and risks that students face in Manchester.

According to the State of Homelessness  in New Hampshire Report, the overall number of people experiencing homelessness in New Hampshire “rose by 11 percent in 2017.  Of the 1,456 individuals reported as experiencing homelessness, approximately 53 percent were single adults and 47 percent were persons in families with children.”  

This report is compiled by the New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness (NHCEH), a nonprofit organization dedicated to “eliminating the causes of homelessness through research, education, and advocacy”.  

They noted a consistent increase in the number of homeless students as well as unaccompanied youths enrolled in school. During the 2016-2017 school year, there were a reported “365 unaccompanied homeless students, up from 251 in 2015-2016. Of the 365 students, 39 were living unsheltered while attending school.”

On Thursday, there was a session for people to help pack lunches for Child and Family Services.

Freshman Jackson Sidell, who works at the Meelia Center explained that the goal of Homeless Awareness Week was to bring attention to the fact that homelessness is an issue in “our own city Manchester.”

Sidell emphasized how the week was able to “introduce the staff and students to different organizations, events, and people that they can access to help, volunteer, or just learn more about the population.” The week was eye opening and had a great impact in educating the campus about this issue.

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