By Gregg McQueen
Carina Taveras was anxious.
As she sat through her Hunter College commencement ceremony this past May, Taveras kept checking her watch.
She was in a rush, eager to get her diploma.
But it was no celebration that awaited her – Taveras needed to leave the ceremony as soon as it was over so she could vacate her dorm in time.
“[There was a] policy where if we stayed past the day we were supposed to be there, we got charged $150 a day,” she said. “I had to clean my room, pack my stuff, and basically get out of there. I couldn’t enjoy my full ceremony.”
More concerning for Taveras was the fact that she had no place to live after leaving the dorm and finishing at Hunter.
She has spent the past several months living in a shelter in the Bronx.
Taveras said she felt there was a lack of resources at college to help her with her housing issues.
“I graduated, and that was it. You’re done,” she remarked.
Taveras’ story is not uncommon for students attending City University of New York (CUNY), as a new report indicates that 55 percent of CUNY students have experienced housing insecurity in the past year, while 14 percent have been homeless.
Released by youth advocacy group The Young Invincibles (YI), the report was the basis for a panel discussion in Manhattan on November 18 focusing on student homelessness in New York City.
“Student homelessness has been getting more attention recently, but we still aren’t doing enough to address the challenges that students experiencing homelessness face as they try to complete their high school education,” said Marissa Muñoz, YI’s Northeast Regional Director. “A college degree is a path to financial stability, and New York City has a responsibility to make sure that all students get the support they need to complete their degree and achieve their dreams.”