Depaul USA Fights Student Homelessness

sharon depaul
Sharon, a Depaul USA Dax Program participant. Photo courtesy of Depaul USA

Depaul USA is a 2019 grantee in the Christopher Family Foundation’s Education program area. This story was contributed by Depaul USA staff.

Depaul USA has been a leader in the fight to end student homelessness since it created its Dax Program to assist homeless and housing insecure DePaul University students in 2015. The Dax Program began as a host-home program, placing students with families. In 2017, Depaul USA opened its first Dax House in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Last year, the Dax House relocated to a former convent in Ukranian Village. Six students live there now.

The Dax Program recently garnered favorable media attention. CBS Sunday Morning did a cover story on university homelessness and highlighted the Dax Program as a creative and effective response to the problem. WGN-TV in Chicago also aired a cover story on its 9 pm news that featured the program and the students’ stories. Since the program’s inception in 2015, 44 DePaul University students have been served and 15 students have received housing. 93% of Dax program participants have remained enrolled or have graduated with a four-year degree.

The Dax Program is expanding in Chicago and nationally. In February, Depaul USA purchased a bungalow near Midway Airport that will be home to four more DePaul students. A 24-room Dax House is planned for the former convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Philadelphia. In February, the Depaul USA Philadelphia Dax Program, which will serve students from several universities, won community support. Administrators at St. John’s University in New York City are also working on bringing the Dax model to their campus.

Sharon, a graduate of the Dax Program: “I want to thank Depaul USA, especially Abe and Sr. Judy, for everything you have done for me and the role you have playing in my growth and becoming. Thank you for believing in me and giving me a chance. The Dax family will always be my favorite miracle story. The things you do without knowing us, the risks you make taking in college students will never go unnoticed and unappreciated. You are changing lives through love and faith in us and I am forever grateful that I was fortunate enough to be one of the lucky ones to be touched and changed by the Dax Program.”