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Iowa State U. students sleep in boxes for homeless

                                                                    =
Updated
12:00 PM ET April 6, 2000

By Jocelyn Marcus
Iowa State Daily
Iowa State U.


(U-WIRE) AMES, Iowa -- Homelessness might not be something the average
student thinks about while walking across campus, but some Iowa State
University students tried to change that Tuesday.

The fourth-annual Sleepout for the Homeless, from noon Tuesday through =
noon
today, featured students camping out in cardboard boxes by the Campanile =
to
raise awareness of the problem of homelessness.

The sleepout was sponsored by the Student Service Team from St. Thomas
Aquinas Church and Catholic Student Center, 2210 Lincoln Way.

Carrie Chavez, sleepout organizer and peer minister at St. Thomas =
Aquinas,
said ISU students need to realize the number of people in America who =
don't
have homes.

"It's just good to get college students aware, whether it's homelessness =
or
other issues, because I think we live in our little microcosm, and we =
don't
realize that there's a very real world out there," said Chavez, junior =
in
sociology and Spanish. "Most of the people here at Iowa State, I don't
think, have seen or observed people actually lying in boxes."

Vinay Tauro, member of the Student Service Team, said homelessness in =
Ames
is not an issue many people are aware of.

"In Ames, you don't really need to confront homelessness so much, but =
there
are homeless people, even in Ames," said Tauro, senior in computer
engineering. "If you go to the Emergency Residence Project -- it's a =
shelter
for the homeless people, on Kellogg Avenue -- there's people there =
pretty
much all the time."

Greg Bahl, senior in electrical engineering, said by camping out in
cardboard boxes, participants in the sleepout are able to get people's
attention.

"It's kind of dramatic," he said. "It's kind of like, 'What the heck are =
all
these morons doing out on campus in cardboard boxes?' You get people to
wander over and go, 'What's this?'"

Even those who don't stop to ask questions may be influenced, said Ann
Staniger, sophomore in graphic design.

"If people walk by and don't say anything, they see something is =
happening
on their campus," she said. "The next time you pick up something that =
says
'homeless' on it or you see something, it might encourage someone to =
look at
it and read it and figure out more about it due to the fact that they =
saw
some crazy people out here in the middle of campus."

Petitions and postcards to mail to state and national legislators were
available at the sleepout, Tauro said. One of the issues the organizers
wanted to tackle was raising the national minimum wage from $5.15 to =
$6.15.

"Even if you do increase it by a dollar, it's still really insufficient.
You're still going to struggle," he said.

Even with the $1 increase, a person working full-time would earn only
$12,000 to $14,000 per year, Tauro said.

"With $14,000 on minimum wage, you still don't have enough for housing =
and
for food and all the other things you're going to need, but it's a step =
in
the right direction," he said.

Nate Rauh, member of the Student Service Team, said a petition, which =
was to
be sent to the Iowa Legislature Friday night, was being passed around to
increase funding for the state food stamp program.

"It's a way of getting food for low-income families. Generally, you =
don't
get people misusing that. If you just hand them money, they can use it
however," said Rauh, senior in computer science.

Staniger said a lot of people wrongly assume most people without homes
choose to live that way.

"Homelessness isn't necessarily something people want," she said. "They =
are
working, a lot of homeless people are working to improve their lives. I
don't think that's realized often enough by the community."

Although the U.S. economy has been very good lately, there are still too
many people unemployed or with low-paying jobs, Tauro said.

"There's a lot of talk about how well the economy is doing, and it is," =
he
said. "But if it's not helping every single person out there, then that
statistic is still pretty much meaningless. If everyone can't benefit =
from
that kind of economy, then we're still not doing enough."

(C) 2000 Iowa State Daily via U-WIRE




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Iowa State U. students sleep in boxes for=20 homeless

         &nb= sp;           &nbs= p;            = ;            =             &= nbsp;        =20 Updated
12:00 PM ET April 6, 2000

By Jocelyn Marcus
Iowa = State=20 Daily
Iowa State U.


(U-WIRE) AMES, Iowa -- Homelessness = might not=20 be something the average
student thinks about while walking across = campus,=20 but some Iowa State
University students tried to change that=20 Tuesday.

The fourth-annual Sleepout for the Homeless, from noon = Tuesday=20 through noon
today, featured students camping out in cardboard boxes = by the=20 Campanile to
raise awareness of the problem of = homelessness.

The=20 sleepout was sponsored by the Student Service Team from St. = Thomas
Aquinas=20 Church and Catholic Student Center, 2210 Lincoln Way.

Carrie = Chavez,=20 sleepout organizer and peer minister at St. Thomas Aquinas,
said ISU = students=20 need to realize the number of people in America who don't
have=20 homes.

"It's just good to get college students aware, = whether it's=20 homelessness or
other issues, because I think we live in our little=20 microcosm, and we don't
realize that there's a very real world out=20 there," said Chavez, junior in
sociology and Spanish. "Most = of the=20 people here at Iowa State, I don't
think, have seen or observed = people=20 actually lying in boxes."

Vinay Tauro, member of the Student = Service=20 Team, said homelessness in Ames
is not an issue many people are aware = of.

"In Ames, you don't really need to confront homelessness = so=20 much, but there
are homeless people, even in Ames," said Tauro, = senior=20 in computer
engineering. "If you go to the Emergency Residence = Project=20 -- it's a shelter
for the homeless people, on Kellogg Avenue -- = there's=20 people there pretty
much all the time."

Greg Bahl, senior = in=20 electrical engineering, said by camping out in
cardboard boxes, = participants=20 in the sleepout are able to get people's
attention.

"It's = kind of=20 dramatic," he said. "It's kind of like, 'What the heck are=20 all
these morons doing out on campus in cardboard boxes?' You get = people=20 to
wander over and go, 'What's this?'"

Even those who = don't stop=20 to ask questions may be influenced, said Ann
Staniger, sophomore in = graphic=20 design.

"If people walk by and don't say anything, they see=20 something is happening
on their campus," she said. "The = next time=20 you pick up something that says
'homeless' on it or you see = something, it=20 might encourage someone to look at
it and read it and figure out more = about=20 it due to the fact that they saw
some crazy people out here in the = middle of=20 campus."

Petitions and postcards to mail to state and = national=20 legislators were
available at the sleepout, Tauro said. One of the = issues the=20 organizers
wanted to tackle was raising the national minimum wage = from $5.15=20 to $6.15.

"Even if you do increase it by a dollar, it's = still really=20 insufficient.
You're still going to struggle," he = said.

Even with=20 the $1 increase, a person working full-time would earn only
$12,000 = to=20 $14,000 per year, Tauro said.

"With $14,000 on minimum wage, = you=20 still don't have enough for housing and
for food and all the other = things=20 you're going to need, but it's a step in
the right direction," = he=20 said.

Nate Rauh, member of the Student Service Team, said a = petition,=20 which was to
be sent to the Iowa Legislature Friday night, was being = passed=20 around to
increase funding for the state food stamp=20 program.

"It's a way of getting food for low-income = families.=20 Generally, you don't
get people misusing that. If you just hand them = money,=20 they can use it
however," said Rauh, senior in computer=20 science.

Staniger said a lot of people wrongly assume most people = without=20 homes
choose to live that way.

"Homelessness isn't = necessarily=20 something people want," she said. "They are
working, a lot = of=20 homeless people are working to improve their lives. I
don't think = that's=20 realized often enough by the community."

Although the U.S. = economy=20 has been very good lately, there are still too
many people unemployed = or with=20 low-paying jobs, Tauro said.

"There's a lot of talk about = how well=20 the economy is doing, and it is," he
said. "But if it's not = helping=20 every single person out there, then that
statistic is still pretty = much=20 meaningless. If everyone can't benefit from
that kind of economy, = then we're=20 still not doing enough."

(C) 2000 Iowa State Daily via=20 U-WIRE


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