• A First Look at Impacts of the College Housing Assistance Program at Tacoma Community College

      The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice (Temple University) (Temple University. The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, 2021-06)
      Affording living expenses presents a major barrier to degree completion for many community college students. Food, affordable housing, transportation, and childcare are central conditions for learning. Yet with stagnant incomes, rising tuition and living costs, and insufficient support from financial aid and the social safety net, approximately one in two community college students struggle to afford these basic needs. Additionally, as many as one in five experience homelessness. The College Housing Assistance Program (CHAP), operated by the Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) and Tacoma Community College (TCC), is at the forefront of the nationwide fight to ameliorate homelessness among college students. CHAP is one of the country’s first partnerships between a housing authority and a community college and offers a unique model. In contrast to other programs such as student-run shelters, rapid-rehousing, and college-owned affordable apartments, CHAP utilizes government-subsidized housing assistance to provide housing to homeless and near-homeless community college students. This report offers the initial lessons learned from the first external evaluation of CHAP. Successful program implementation is crucial to providing benefits for students, and can be especially challenging in housing programs. We therefore focus on how students experienced the program, where they faced barriers, and where they found support. It is too early in the evaluation process to draw conclusions about the program’s efficacy; these are short-term insights.