TAMU-CC’s SVC & ISJ hosts Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Panel


Alexis Garcia/ISLAND WAVES

Student Volunteer Connection and Islander’s for Social Justice host a discussion panel discussing homelessness in our community for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

Discussion about hunger and homelessness in our community is critical as the winter season brings with it a rise in the homeless population of Corpus Christi as people migrate seeking warmer weather, adding to the increase in homelessness due to COVID-19 related evictions nationwide. 

 As part of Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, the Student Volunteer Connection (SVC) and Islander’s for Social Justice (ISJ), came together to bring awareness on hunger and homelessness around the nation and in Corpus Christi, with a discussion panel on Nov. 17 featuring two guest speakers. 

The two guest speakers of the event were Associate Professor of Sociology and Mexican-American Studies Coordinator at TAMU-CC, Dr. Isabel Araiza and Development Coordinator at the Coastal Bend Food Bank, Robert Morales, Jr. The two talked about the statistics of hunger and homelessness throughout the nation and in Corpus Christi, as well as the causes. 

When asked about what may be contributing to the homeless population in Corpus Christi, Dr. Araiza mentioned how despite social safety nets put in place to create opportunities for those in need, many consider homelessness a “moral failing.” 

“I think it causes us to be more punitive and less willing to invest in programs and opportunities that promote economic stability.” Araiza said. 

At the door of the event, a sign from Feeding America read “In 2020, more than 33 million people faced hunger in the United States, including more than 12 million children.” The sign also read “A household that is Food Insecure has limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life, children are more likely to face food insecurity than any other group in the United States.” 

According to Morales, one in nine American families and one in five Texans deal with food insecurity. Morales also went on to talk about how college students are very likely to face food insecurity after having to face the financial burden of supplies, living situations, bills, etc. 

After discussing food insecurity, Morales talked about how the Coastal Bend Food bank can benefit from the community to help those in need, by having more volunteers to aid in food distribution, or donating extra resources for students, families, and communities. 

In regards to homelessness, Araiza talked about the history of housing and how it sets up a future of affordable housing, and homeownership. “It was more affordable for low income white people to become homeowners,” Araiza said. “That sets the stage for basically three generations of homeownership, and wealth accumulation opportunities that were not afforded to people of color.”

Araiza also talks about how investments into living quarters and resources may play another factor into affordability. “The investment in living and resources is targeted towards us and the upper middle class,” said Araiza. “So the poor people are really struggling, the rents are lower but issues around flooding, quality, and infrastructure will make people think that no one’s ever going to buy it.” 

TAMU-CC’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week ran from Nov. 13-18, consisting of events aimed to bring awareness to these issues, while also helping those in need by creating care packages and other necessary items to be donated. While there are no known upcoming events for the SVC and ISJ, more information about upcoming on and off campus events can be found on I-Engage.