BWEL launching HOST program to address housing insecurity among college students

During the COVID-19 pandemic, as many as 15% of students at NC State have experienced homelessness. Sadly, the rates of homelessness are likely similar at other Raleigh-area campuses as well, based on national data.

This means that thousands of college students have spent at least one night without a safe place to sleep.  Some students live in their cars, some stay with friends in overcrowded apartments, and some sleep in the library because they have nowhere else to go.  

Our community can do better.  

HOST – Housing Options for Students Today

BWEL is excited to announce an innovative new program, HOST (Housing Options for Students Today) that will support college and university students who are housing insecure. We are partnering with a dedicated group of community members who have been building a vision of a host homes program in the Raleigh area. By working together, we can make sure that every college student has a safe place to stay so they can focus on their studies and their future.

We are currently in the set-up phase of the program, and hope to begin serving students by fall of 2021.

What are host homes?

Host home programs have been implemented successfully around the country to serve individuals experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity.  Here in Wake County, HOST will match college students experiencing housing insecurity with community members who will welcome the student into their home.  Host homes are: 

  • Well screened and well matched — hosts undergo a thorough vetting and training process to ensure that they provide a safe living space that is comfortable and appropriate for the students’ needs
  • Affirming and safe spaces — hosts welcome the student into their home, while respecting their independence and dignity as an adult
  • Equitable — students from all backgrounds are welcomed and a diverse community of hosts are recruited so that students can be matched with a home that is culturally affirming
  • Stable and calming — host homes reduce the stress that housing insecure students are facing, so they can focus on being successful in school and developing a long-term stable plan
  • Short term — the student will work with an advocate to identify a long-term solution for safe and affordable housing
  • Supportive through a caring community — staff, hosts, and students work together to support one another’s success

Host homes are a strategy to address homelessness and housing insecurity that can be implemented efficiently and cost-effectively, while nurturing strong community connections.

How you can help

There are many options to get involved in the current planning phase of HOST. You can:

  • Join the advisory committee — We need students, faculty and staff from local universities, community partners, and all interested individuals to help build and guide the program. If you are interested in this opportunity, please fill out this form.
  • Consider becoming a host — We expect to begin formally recruiting hosts in the spring or summer of 2021.  If you may be interested or would like more information, please fill out this form
  • Support the program financially — Donations can be made by mailing a contribution to BWEL; 4501 New Bern Ave; Suite 130, Box 236; Raleigh, NC 27610 or online through BWEL’s secure donation portal.
  • Spread the word — Share this info with your friends, family and associates.  If you would like someone to come share information about HOST with a group, please fill out this form