The story of homeless EMU student Ramone Williams makes it to FOX2 Detroit


Tonight, on an all new episode of The Saturday Six Pack, I’ll be talking with EMU student Ramone Williams, the subject of a recent investigative piece on homelessness among Michigan’s college students in the online publication The Bridge. Since the story first came to light over the holidays, over $25,000 has been raised for Williams online, and now bigger media entities are beginning to take notice… Following is the segment that ran last night on Detroit’s FOX2 News.

And here’s a clip from the accompanying story:

…After taking a break from school to care for his sick grandmother he promised her that he would go back and finish college. But with little money he says he had to decide between paying tuition and having a place to live. That’s when his grandmother’s van became his home on campus

“If I could save $500 to $600 in rent by having grandmother’s vehicle I can make do,” he said.

Victoria Burton-Harris sits on the board for Covenant House Michigan, an organization that helps young people who do not have a place to live. She heard about Ramone’s story and decided to set a GoFundMe account.

“Within a day, the goal of $10,000 had already been met and was well on it’s way to 15 or 20,000,” Burton-Harris said.

With so many donations Ramone felt this was more than enough and requested that he not receive any more money. But he wants people who still would like to donate to send money to EMU’s Magic Program, which helps students who are homeless or have experienced foster care. Ramone says it helped him but the program is underfunded…

As mentioned above, Williams has asked that people stop donating to the GoFundMe page set up for him, and begin to give instead to the page established for EMU’s MAGIC (Mentorship, Access, Guidance in College) program, which has already raised close to $5,000 to help fund their work with homeless students on campus like Williams. [Representatives from MAGIC also say that they’ve also received $40,000 in pledges outside of GoFundMe since this story first broke.]

If you would like to tune in tonight and hear my conversation with Williams, the segment will begin at 6:00 on Ypsilanti’s AM 1700.

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  1. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 9, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    This story is inspiring and depressing. A lot of students are taking out loans in an unreasonable way. This young man is responding to something unreasonable (the cost of college) in a reasonable way (but extreme way). It takes courage and discipline to go to school without a home are for cooking, cleaning and sleeping (well). Rather than view this as a sad story I hope this story can be understood as the normal consequences of overpriced education. College has become a racket. A dorm would cost, which I would not rent for 200 a month, will cost this kid 550 dollars a month. Screw that! A meal plan is something like 17 dollars a day at EMU. Screw that! This stuff needs to be addressed for the currently struggling college students, like this kid and the soon to be struggling adults that will be so saddled with the reality of student debt that they have a hard time making ends meet later in life.

    This should not be considered a single sad story with a happy ending.

  2. Dustin Lince
    Posted January 9, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    When I first read the story I broke down. Not because I was sad(although it has tragic elements) but it gave me hope for humanity. In this world where daily hate rhetoric floods the media and media keeps reminding us that our differences should keep us apart, to see the overwhelming support that this wonderful human being is being showed reminds me that the vast majority of humans are wonderful souls and inspires me to keep fighting the good fight.

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