SDSU breaking stigma of hunger and homelessness on campus

Posted at 6:15 PM, Nov 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-14 21:33:22-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Students struggling silently with hunger and homelessness might be surprised to find out they're not alone.

A CSU-wide study found that 40 percent of its students don't know where their next meal is coming from, and 10 percent don't have a stable place to sleep.

It's an issue San Diego State University is working to tackle.

This week they held the campuses first Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week on campus. 

On Tuesday they held a resource fair and on Wednesday a mass-enrollment for CalFresh, the federal program which provides food benefits to low-income applicants.

“It’s hard enough as it is being a student and to compound that with being hungry or dealing with housing and security, it really hits me," said Sarah Feteih, an SDSU student getting her masters in social work.

Feteih is also an intern with the campus Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT), which works to tackle these issues on campus every day.

“We’re encountering students that are sleeping in their cars because they can’t afford to live anywhere else, or they don’t know where their next meal is going to come from because they’re choosing between paying for their textbooks or paying for their groceries that week," said Feteih.

Over a dozen county workers were on campus helping students enroll in CalFresh. The process was streamlined, getting students in-and-out within a half-hour and allowing them to bypass the required phone interview.

“I think the real stress comes from the fact that I can't eat right," said SDSU senior, Calvin Yeh-Tinetti. "I'm definitely buying a lot of food that are canned foods, which are probably not the healthiest but are really cheap.”

Yeh-Tinetti was one of the dozens of students who applied for CalFresh on Wednesday.