Los Angeles

USC Student Group Opens Shelter for Homeless Peers

A University of Southern California student organization dedicated to supporting the homeless will open a shelter Friday that will provide resources and a temporary home to for homeless college students.

Trojan Shelter, an organization run entirely by undergraduate USC students, will open a free residence shelter at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Koreatown. A grand opening event will commemorate the occasion, and will be held Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The St. Mary’s Episcopal Church shelter will house six homeless students who attend schools throughout the Greater Los Angeles area and provide them with three meals per day without charge. The students will move into the shelter on Nov. 15.

The shelter will operate from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m., seven days a week, and will include overnight supervision. It will be open from November to May, and it will be run by trained USC volunteers, according to a Trojan Shelter press release.

Trojan Shelter was founded by students Esther Cha and Abigail Leung. The organization will operate the St. Mary’s Episcopal Church shelter under Students 4 Students, a nonprofit that aims to provide support to homeless students and that was created by the founder of Bruin Shelter, a UCLA student organization that operates a shelter in Santa Monica.

"The exciting part about Bruin Shelter and Trojan Shelter isn't that we are the first organization to address college homelessness on the service-provider level -- it's that once we refine and perfect our model, we can share our success with other universities who are interested in starting their own space," Leung said in the press release.

According to the press release, more than 41% of California State University students are "housing insecure." Additionally, about 20% of community college students have experienced homelessness in the past year, and about 5% of all University of California students experience homelessness within their enrollment.

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