DAVIS (CBS13) – A group of UC Davis students give back. Aggie House is a townhouse near campus for financially struggling or homeless students.
Three founders who run the shelter are fourth-year students making a difference in the lives of their peers.
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In the first year, COVID-19 took Marvin Lopez away from the UC Davis campus.
“I was basically on Zoom the whole time,” said Lopez, a UC Davis student who lives at Aggie House.
Finally, second grade rolled around and Lopez was excited until his parents told him they couldn’t afford to send him back to school.
“My dad said, ‘I don’t have any money for you right now,’” he said.
With nowhere to turn, a friend referred him to Aggie House.
“I was able to say to my parents, ‘Hey, I have a place,’” he said.
Davis Townhouse is a safe haven for homeless UC Davis students.
“I was not born to have the luxury of having a good start in my life and my parents did everything they could so I would really like to thank you for helping me,” Lopez said. .
Katie Shen, Allie O’Brien and Ashley Lo are students at UC Davis and founded Aggie House with the help of volunteers.
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“Aggie House is a student organization registered with UC Davis,” said Katie Shen, one of the founders of Aggie House.
The nonprofit is funded by grants and university donations, allowing residents to live in the six-bedroom townhouse for free.
“They have up to a year of warranty to stay here. Breakfast and dinner are provided, they are given case management services, help in applying for financial assistance, employment opportunities, ”Shen said.
According to UC Davis, 18% of students are homeless.
“It may sound like a risk of deportation while riding a couch while living in cars,” O’Brien said.
“There is no judgment here and we are all working together to help our residents,” Lo said.
For Lopez, home is exactly what it is.
“Thanks for taking the initiative to help me and others like me because. Sorry. Thanks to you guys,” he said.
Several California universities offer similar programs through a non-profit organization called Students 4 Students.
UCLA’s Bruin Shelter and USC’s Trojan Shelter are just two examples.
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The students who run Aggie House hope the idea takes off nationwide.