Thanks to a private donor, UNO can now offer assistance to students who may be facing homelessness and housing insecurity.
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Cathy Pettid, said that the recently-established UNO Housing Fund is one of many resources students can access.
“Thanks to a private donor in this last year we have funds that are reserved for a student who is facing housing insecurity, and those funds can be applied for them to live on-campus,” Pettid said. “A student needs to be nominated by someone, a committee meets to check out their situation, and we move forward from there.”
Pettid said that the fund is not meant to be money that can be used towards applying for an apartment off campus, but is designed to help a student stay on-campus.
If staying enrolled at the university isn’t an option for a student, Pettid said that she has resources for that route as well.
“We want to help them continue here at UNO, and that’s our primary goal, but first and foremost is a student’s safety and well-being,” she said. “If it’s decided that they can’t stay in school, then I’ll also help connect them to community resources as well.”
She added that there are many factors that can lead to housing insecurity. Whether the situation derives from a breakup, domestic violence, job loss, or the relocation of family members, UNO is prepared to help students explore their options.
“The first step is to be comfortable telling someone, and it certainly doesn’t have to be me,” she said. “UNO has a culture of care, and that’s just not a saying; I’ve worked here nearly 20 years and this is really a special place."
We care about our students holistically, that means their academic wellness, their emotional wellness, their physical wellness, and that includes housing security."
- Cathy Pettid
“Be brave enough to share a concern, and know that there are a lot of caring and trustworthy people who have the resources to help,” she said. “There’s sometimes a real stigma associated with housing insecurity whether it’s pride that gets in the way or maybe embarrassment. If you can trust in the process, we want to be able to help our students.”
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.