Homelessness Awareness Takes Front Stage at Mount Union
April 16, 2008
Over 350 people in Stark County are homeless and about 12 million American adults have been literally homeless at one point in their lives. Mount Union College tried to do their part to promote homelessness awareness with their “Homeless in the Quad” event, organized by JANUS.
The event brought students together for a night in the quad where they built their own shelters out of cardboard. The student participants begged for food and slept outside in the frigid Ohio nighttime temperatures.
Members of JANUS brought local community activists to the College to help with their promotion efforts, and speak to students about awareness in Alliance and Stark County.
Carol DeGrange, former director of the Alliance for Churches and adjunct professor at Mount Union, spoke of her experiences trying to receive funding for a homeless shelter in Alliance and collect necessities for those in need.
“I made informal arrangements around the community, especially with mattresses,” said DeGrange. “It is illegal to sell mattresses, so these arrangements had to be made.”
The Alliance for Children and Families does a lot to help the homeless. Theresa Lattanzi, director of the Alliance for Children and Families, explained the demands of her position.
“I am overwhelmed…the phone rings 24-hours a day,” said Lattanzi.
Former Mount Union College chaplain, Dr. Don Hobson, explained the impact that Mount Union students have had on the Alliance community. He said Mount Union professors helped start the first local Habitat for Humanity Chapter and students started the local recycling service in the community.
Hobson said, “Students started recycling on campus and, once the community caught wind, the students were collecting ten tons of recyclables a week.”
JANUS promotes social justice and responsibility on campus and exposes students to social issues and encourages civic engagements.