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All-formats team exposes housing crisis for college students

From left, University of California, Berkeley students Sofia Howard-Jimenez, Jennifer Lopez, and Aisha Wallace-Palomares talk in the dining room of the apartment they share with one other that is now used as Sofia's bedroom in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, March 29, 2022. Millions of college students in the U.S. are trying to find an affordable place to live as rents surge nationally, affecting seniors, young families and students alike. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

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San Francisco reporter Janie Har exposed a growing housing crisis hitting college campuses across the U.S.: A surge in the number of new students who deferred college during the worst of the COVID crisis has strained campus housing nationwide, leaving many students homeless, sleeping in cars or living in motel rooms while attending school — or causing them to further delay their education.

Working with AP’s housing coverage team, Har noticed that the housing crunch affecting many Americans was also impacting college students nationwide. California has been at the epicenter of the problem, with the University of California, Berkeley, threatening to cap enrollment over the issue. Har found that over the past year, 43% of students experienced housing insecurity and 14% experienced homelessness nationally.

With video from Terry Chea and photos by Eric Risberg, digital storyteller Samantha Shotzbarger created a strong presentation that brought the issue to light. The story performed well both on AP platforms and with customers,but its real impact was on Facebook, where it was viewed 2.4 million times.

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