Formerly homeless student shares experience


Jeremy Poe, senior communications major.

Sky Fought

The number of homeless people in the United States continues to rise, and college students are not excluded. There are an estimated 58,000 homeless students on campuses nationwide, according to the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth. 

Jeremy Poe, a junior public communications major, spent three months not knowing where he would sleep at night or where his next meal would come from. 

After a housing conflict with his landlord in 2014, Poe found himself homeless and desperate. He did not have enough financial aid to find another place to live and the semester started soon. 

“I felt lost and hopeless,” Poe said. 

Poe found it difficult to tell people about his situation because he was afraid others would be judgmental and not understanding. He said people quickly assumed he had a drug problem or a mental issue. 

“The truth is it was a messed up situation, and I didn’t know how to handle it,” Poe said. “When someone is going through that type of situation, it’s hard to handle because you are hungry and homeless and it is hard to focus.” 

Faculty members at Kent State helped Poe get back on the right track. Poe said he credits Deborah Spake, the dean of the College of Business Administration, as one of the people who helped him. Spake and a group of faculty members worked together to find Poe housing and get him back into school.

“I would help any student in that situation,” Spake said in a phone interview. She said Poe’s dedication to giving back is admirable. 

“I just thought to myself ‘What can I do with my education and my job that would make a difference?’” Poe said.

He said he wanted to combine the two to do something constructive for the community.

So he created the “Ready. Set. Feed a Vet.” campus food drive before spring break — from March 10-12 on the first floor of the Kent State Student Center to raise donations for the Freedom House. 

Jason Davis, a support worker at the Freedom House, a transitional housing facility for veterans in Portage county, said the donations will directly help the men who stay in the facility. 

“The men who stay with us typically have no income and no food stamps, so the pantry is there for their use,” Davis said in a phone interview. 

With help from the Kent Communication Society, the Veterans Club and other on campus organizations, Poe said he hoped to make a difference with the food drive. 

Poe said working at the Freedom House changed his life for the better. He said it can be challenging for him to help himself but he loves helping others. 

“I get to work with great guys every day who need my help,” Poe said.

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