When the Homeless Come to Campus: Balancing Security With Empathy

WhenTheHomelessManaging the adult homeless population on and around a school campus is a balancing act, fraught with political landmines and liability exposures. On the one hand, many campus administrators have genuine compassion for the individuals in their communities who, through no fault of their own, are on the streets due to economic difficulties, mental illness, or addiction. The vast majority of this segment of the transient population doesn’t pose a threat to anyone.

Additionally, the homeless can be good sources of information regarding what is going on in their world and how it affects the homeless students on campus. For example, an adult member of the homeless community might be able to tell campus protection professionals, administrators or liaisons about the sex trafficking of youth happening nearby.

On the other hand, campuses must protect their students, staff, authorized visitors, and physical assets from the homeless adults who could be dangerous. Because most of them have not been vetted, transient individuals could be anyone, including a criminal evading the police or a pedophile looking to target children.

Learn tips and get advice on how to handle this delicate balancing act with a two-pronged approach.