Leaving 'Homeless U' Behind, Brittany Jones Gets an Apartment

Brittany Jones relaxes in her new bed after spending the day moving into her new apartment. Jones is excited to have her own bed to sleep in after spending so many nights on friends' floors or seats on BART. (Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)

This article was originally published on Dec. 25, 2016.

Two weeks ago Brittany Jones was homeless. Now she is safe and warm in an Oakland apartment, thanks to a KQED listener.

Brittany Jones is a student at Laney College and was homeless when KQED reporter Laura Klivans began talking with her as part of the series Homeless U, which explored the lives of three homeless college students, and the growing awareness of this previously invisible population.

I first met Jones in the early part of December when I began photographing her going about her days at school, visiting her storage unit and sleeping on BART. Even with the situation she was in, Jones always had a positive and motivated outlook. She could laugh at life and was determined to keep pushing herself to finish school.

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Jones' story was published as part of the Bay Area media collaboration #SFHomelessProject on Dec. 7. After her story aired, KQED began receiving offers from listeners to provide rooms, storage spaces and anything else they thought might help Jones.

In a wonderful gesture of kindness, one listener went so far as to pay for an apartment for Jones. Her hope is that this will give Jones the opportunity to focus on her schooling and find a part-time job.  Within a week, Jones was safely moved into her new Oakland apartment and is settling in for a wonderful holiday season.

With the help of this kind gift, Jones continues to work toward her academic goals and has high hopes for her spring semester classes.

Brittany Jones is a student at Laney College in Oakland. She hopes to major in business or social work. She's also homeless.
Brittany Jones is a student at Laney College in Oakland. She hopes to major in business or social work. Until very recently, she was homeless. (Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)
Brittany Jones’ life is a fine dance of details and logistics: Will she have enough money for dinner tonight? Will she be able to sneak into the seat next to the hidden power outlet on BART to charge her phone? Will she find a free set of metal stairs so she can access her upper-level storage locker?
Brittany Jones’ life on the streets was a fine dance of details and logistics: Would she have enough money for dinner? Would she be able to sneak into the seat next to the secret power outlet on BART to charge her phone? Would she find a free set of metal stairs so she can access her upper-level storage locker? (Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)
Brittany Jones’ parents both passed away when she was a child. Since then, she’s bounced between foster homes and the houses of friends and relatives. She’s close to counselors at school and select friends and family members. Largely, though, she draws on inner strength. “I just try to be my own support system, be my own encouragement,” she says.
Brittany Jones’ parents both passed away when she was a child. Since then, she’s bounced between foster homes and the houses of friends and relatives. She’s close to counselors at school and a few friends and family members. Largely, though, she draws on inner strength. 'I just try to be my own support system, be my own encouragement,' she says. (Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)
On BART, Brittany Jones rests in a familiar place on the train. On nights when she she couldn't find a couch or floor somewhere, she’ll stay awake in a 24-hour restaurant or ride San Francisco’s all-night buses before she boards the earliest BART train of the day, sleeping until the rush-hour crowd arrives.
On BART, Brittany Jones takes a rest in a familiar place on the train. On nights when she couldn't find a couch or floor somewhere, she would stay awake in a 24-hour restaurant or ride San Francisco’s all-night buses before she boards the earliest BART train of the day, sleeping until the rush-hour crowd arrives. (Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)
Brittany Jones relaxes in her new bed after spending the day moving into her new apartment. Jones is excited to have her own bed to sleep in after spending so many nights on friend’s floors or seats on Bart.
Brittany Jones relaxes in her new bed after spending Dec. 17 moving into her new apartment. Jones is excited to have her own bed to sleep in after spending so many nights on friends' floors or seats on BART. (Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)
Brittany Jones and her friend A’Dre’a Foster (left) work to put together a dining in Jones’ new apartment.
Brittany Jones and her friend A’Dre’a Foster (left) work to put together a dining room table in Jones’ new apartment. (Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)
Brittany Jones begins unpacking cleaning supplies in her new apartment in Oakland.
Brittany Jones begins unpacking cleaning supplies in her new apartment. (Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)
Brittany Jones starts putting away kitchen pans in her new apartment in Oakland.
Brittany Jones puts away kitchen pans in her new kitchen. (Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)
Brittany Jones continues to smile as she talks about her new apartment with a friend. Jones has been smiling all day since she began moving into her new apartment first thing in the morning on Saturday, DBrittany Jones continues to smile as she talks about her new apartment with a friend. Jones has been smiling all day since she began moving into her new apartment first thing in the morning on Saturday.ecember 17, 2016.
Brittany Jones continues to smile as she talks about her new apartment with a friend. Jones has been smiling all day since she began moving into her apartment on Saturday morning, Dec. 17. (Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)
Brand new keys hang in the lock of Brittany Jones’ new apartment.
Brand-new keys hang in the lock of Brittany Jones’ new home. (Brittany Hosea-Small/KQED)

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