At 57, Drake Davis doesn't have much in common with his San Francisco State University classmates. He's a former Army infantryman who had a brief career in talk radio and did a stint in the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. One thing he does share with an estimated 50,000 California State University students: He struggles with homelessness.
Of CSU’s 480,000 students, an estimated 11 percent lacked a stable home at least once in the last 12 months. An estimated 200,000 students -- close to 42 percent of CSU's enrollment -- have difficulty affording enough quality food. That's more than three times the national rate for the general U.S. population, and half those students are believed to have very low food security.
Those numbers come from CSU’s first systemwide report on student homelessness and food insecurity, released earlier this week. Researchers say it’s the most comprehensive study of its kind.
The study relied on surveys with students from all 23 CSU campuses for basic data. Researchers then followed up with interviews on some campuses to collect more nuanced information about the impact of homelessness and food insecurity on students’ academic performance and mental health.
Davis has lived all over San Francisco --- at Ocean Beach, in Golden Gate Park and outside SFSU's Creative Arts Building behind a yucca plant.