The Coronavirus Outbreak Is Leaving College Students With No Place to Live

“When the news came out, I knew I was going to need to find a place to live.”

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Megan Job used to live on Middlebury College’s campus in Vermont, but she had to leave after the school closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. She’s now staying in an Airbnb in Brooklyn, where she’s from, that one of her former teachers paid for.

“When the news came out, I knew I was going to need to find a place to live,” the 21-year-old told VICE News.

As someone who’s experienced homelessness throughout her life, Megan didn’t know where she’d go after her university shut down. An estimated 14% of four-year college students are homeless, and another 60% are considered housing insecure, according to a study by The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, a research center focused on education and social policies. So when campuses closed to prevent a coronavirus outbreak, many of these students were left trying to find a place to live.

Megan doesn’t have the money to rent a room in New York City, so she’s having to get creative with short-term solutions. She could have stayed with her mom, Maxine, in Jersey City, where she’s been renting a room. But recently, Megan’s sister needed to move in. Megan doesn’t want to stay there more than a few days because she doesn’t want her mom to lose her housing. The AirBNB was her next best option.

“I feel like my situation is so nuanced,” Megan said. “I’m not on the streets homeless. I feel like what is the governor supposed to do? Give me an apartment for free? It’s not his job.”

Megan only plans to be there for the next month. Then, she might stay in another empty AirBNB owned by a family she’s trying to nanny for. That would give her a stable place to live until summer, when she’ll go to Washington D.C., where she will work as a summer intern for the National Institutes of Health.