FAMU students face housing struggles as classes begin

FAMU housing update by Jacob Murphey
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 9:30 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2022 at 9:33 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Campus is buzzing on the Highest of Seven Hills.

The first day of class at Florida A&M University is wrapping up, after a turbulent few weeks thanks to an on-campus housing shortage.

A university spokesperson confirmed with WCTV that 290 students remained on a waitlist as the semester began.

For families still in limbo, the first day of class served as a pivotal moment. For many, there needed to be a resolution by Monday, or attending Fall classes may not be feasible.

Gierra Williams is a fourth year student from Atlanta. She had no idea this would be her toughest challenge in college.

“It’s a lot to take in, a lot to go through. I’m trying to remain positive,” Williams said.

The business major had an on campus housing spot, but gave it up weeks ago when the school asked for volunteers to make way for a crowded freshmen waitlist.

“I know how I was freshman year, wanting to live on campus. It was easy and accessible,” she said.

She found an affordable off campus apartment at The Social Seminole on Ocala Road, and she arrived at her apartment Saturday.

“That’s when I initially saw the mold and spider webs, spiders, it was really dirty...all types of stuff,” she said.

Williams shared a number of images showing what appeared to be water on the floor and dirt or mold in drawers. She said pleas to management for help were not answered.

Lakara Neverson and her daughter, Ayanna, traveled up from Broward County to help her start a new chapter in life. Ayanna was one of hundreds of first year students without on campus housing. While frustrated, Neverson said they found what they thought was a decent alternative. They, too, signed a lease at The Social Seminole.

They, too, arrived to allegedly unlivable conditions.

“The tub was black, there were dead roaches everywhere,” Neverson said.

Neverson asked apartment management for a cleanup. She was told they were short staffed from the pandemic and had not been able to clean each unit before move-in day.

The mother and daughter searched all over town during the weekend, but couldn’t find anything. She was ready to unenroll her daughter from classes altogether Monday morning. Then a miracle happened.

An on-campus housing spot opened up, and Ayanna was able to get it.

“I was happy, [my mom] was crying, crying so hard,” she said.

WCTV reached out to management at The Social Seminole twice Monday, but never received a response.