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CWU Awarded Grant to Assist Homeless Students

The Washington Student Achievement Council logo


Housing insecurity and homelessness can have a significant impact on a  student’s ability to successfully complete their college degree. To help keep the most vulnerable college students enrolled in school, the Washington Student Achievement Council launched the Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness pilot grant. Central Washington University is among its recipients this year.

The grant is handled by Resource Coordinator Jen Moultine in the CWU Office of Case Management. To qualify for assistance through grant funds, a student must be homeless, housing insecure, or have turned 18 while in foster care.

“I find out what their situation is, and where they really need the most help in order to ensure that they can stay housed and stay successful in school.” Moultine said. Whether or not they qualify for emergency funds, Moultine connects students with campus and community resources.

Since the beginning of the program five weeks ago, about a third of the allotted funds have gone to students in need. Moultine says this has served not only to get these students back on track, but also to bolster the local economy.

“A lot of this money is going back into the Ellensburg community, because we’re helping students to pay rent and buy groceries here in town” she said. “Once we have verified their needs, they receive a check to deal with the expenses.”

Grant funds are only dispensed once all other avenues toward financial stability, such as financial aid, loans, and other campus resources, have been exhausted. Moultine works with students seeking assistance one-on-one to identify these resources and ensure that nothing goes unutilized.

“Asking people about financial need is a really sensitive topic, requiring a lot of trust,” she said. “I tell students that our systems are not set up to support a lot of people, and we all need help from time to time, which is one way to help them feel okay about receiving assistance.”

This grant is just one of the many ways CWU is working to address housing and food insecurity among students. CWU’s Wildcat Pantry offers food and hygiene products to any student in need, free of charge.

“Our vision is that resources across campus are really responsive to student needs, and that we are adequately resourced to address those needs,” Moultine said.

Media Contact: Rune Torgersen, Department of Public Affairs, Rune.Torgersen@cwu.edu,