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Thousands of California college students homeless and go hungry

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Nearly 50,000 students attending the largest public university in the United States are homeless and many more go hungry, according to a new study made public this week.

The study, commissioned by California State University (CSU), which has 23 campuses across the western state and some 460,000 students, shows that 8.7 to 12 percent of students at the school are homeless while 21 to 24 percent lack a consistent food source.

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“I reflected a bit on the number, and the number one in five students at Cal State are food insecure are a gasp,” said Timothy White, chancellor of the Cal State system, as he presented the findings at a conference on Monday.

He said the study was commissioned in February of last year in order to quantify anecdotal evidence on the issue.

Staff, faculty and administrators were questioned along with students.

The report said that many struggling students felt their level of need was not understood by campus personnel and some were unaware of the assistance available to them.

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One homeless student identified as Nikki said she had informed residential staff at one campus of her situation but was told it would not be “fair” to allow her to stay in the dorms.

“Well, if we do that for you, then we have to do that for everybody,” she recounted being told.

Another student identified as Annie said she would welcome food assistance in order not to be stigmatized and made to “feel like you’re walking with a scarlet letter on your chest.”

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– ‘Best kept secret’ –

Staff interviewed said they limited “outreach and promotion” of assistance programs — such as food stamps or financial aid — for fear they would be deluged with requests given their limited resources.

“Often, programs and services were the ‘best kept secret’ of the campus because participants saved resources for the students experiencing the most acute crisis,” the report said.

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It added that the scale of the problem was also often misunderstood or minimized.

“In some cases, there was a normalizing of the ‘starving student’ as part of the college vernacular,” the report said.

“Some participants suggested, outside of rare circumstances, that students generally squander their resources with youthful behavior.”

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The students who reported being homeless said they often “couch-surfed” or slept in their cars, in tents, in parking lots or railway stations.

The study, the first such survey in the country, said a system-wide commitment was needed to remedy the situation.

“CSU campuses are developing programs to support the needs of displaced and food insecure students,” the report said.

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“However, a greater understanding of this student population, their experiences accessing and utilizing existing services, and their rates of retention is needed,”

Elizabeth Chapin, a spokeswoman for CSU, said the study would continue for another two years to assess how widespread the issue of homelessness and hunger is among students and to come up with intervention programs to assist them and ensure they graduate.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump has been ‘insulated’ by his wealth to never have to learn from his mistakes: biographer

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President Donald Trump's inherited wealth has meant he's never had to learn from his mistakes, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien told MSNBC's Brian Williams on Thursday.

"Bloomberg Opinion writer and our next guest Tim O’Brien writes today, 'Yes, of course, you need a certain kind of appalling narcissism to be comfy promoting yourself as heaven-sent in a televised press briefing and as a deity on Twitter. It’s doubly unhinged when you’re doing this as president,'" Williams said. "He goes on 'The Trump of the past few weeks is the same disordered figure of the past several decades with, I suspect, a big dollop of something new blended in: unbridled and unmanageable panic.'"

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The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China are both rooting for President Donald Trump to win re-election in 2020, a New York Times columnist argued on MSNBC on Thursday.

Thomas Friedman was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word."

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Trump is ‘not a stable genius’: GOP strategist says the president ‘doesn’t remember who and where he is’

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President Donald Trump's mental fitness is lacking, a top Republican strategist explained on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Rick Wilson, the author of the 2018 bestselling book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever, blasted the commander-in-chief.

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