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Photo: Instagram/@alejandraaa267
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Coronavirus Crisis: Latina Student at Harvard Faces Homelessness Due to School Closure

This week, schools and universities around the country announced they would be closing due to the coronavirus crisis leaving many students and parents feeling uncertain about what to do and where to go. For one Latina college student at Harvard University, she, like many others, was told that the school — including campus housing — would be shutting down. Now she is left scrambling trying to find a place to live, not just for herself but for her mother too. 

Alejandra Iglesias tweeted last night, “72 hrs Harvard told me to leave campus My mom, and I are homeless, and I no longer have my [part]-time job I use to support my family I’ve led the student group asking others to help first-gen low-income students like myself Now I’m asking for help for me, [email protected]_iglesias.”

Iglesias represents many students who rely on on-campus housing, financial aid, and college work to support themselves and sometimes their families. Now that universities are closing for an unknown period, low-income students don’t have a place to live. 

Curbed reported these startling figures, “according to surveys and research from the Hope Center at Temple University, roughly 60 percent of community college students, and 48 percent of four-year college students, face housing insecurity—defined as an inability to pay rent or utilities, or the need to move frequently—while 18 percent of community college students, and 14 percent of four-year college students, have been homeless at some point during college. Furthermore, many students depend on their colleges for food as well as employment.”

While Harvard is a prestigious university with a multi-billion endowment, it’s exceptionally frustrating that they are not doing more to help their community of low-income students. 

“It has taken me so much to even consider tweeting this,” Iglesias tweeted. “While my mom and I have a temporary place to stay for now, so much is uncertain, and I do not have the financial security of my 3 on-campus jobs to provide for my family.”

Overnight, Iglesias’s tweet has been retweeted more than 20,000 times and has more than 50,000 likes. She’s also received responses from people who are offering to help, including Mayor of the City of Cambridge Sumbul Siddiqui. 

“If you or someone you know is unable to find housing because of your college or university’s policies surrounding COVID-19, please contact my office at 617-448-1525 or DM me,” Siddiqui tweeted. 

It’s important to note the seriousness of taking precautions against the coronavirus, which is why so many places and events are shutting down. However, we should also be mindful of helping the vulnerable as best as we can during this health crisis.