An idea born a few months ago is now giving homeless college students a helping hand in Tacoma.
This week students can start moving into the new apartment building with affordable housing units on Market Street near the university's campus.
Armen Papyan, student government president at the University of Washington Tacoma, worked with fellow student leaders to explore programs that could help homeless and low-income students. Papyan experienced homelessness during his freshmen year.
"If I had that resource I was homeless then that would've been huge for me, but it wasn't there and unfortunately I had to go through a lot of problems," said Papyan.
Nearly 14 percent of students attending the University of Washington Tacoma is housing insecure, which means they are homeless or nearing homelessness.
"Within the span of the last three months we've managed to go from a hypothetical what if we had a program to today we're talking about students moving in this week," said Daniel Eatherly, a student at UW Tacoma.
52 of the building 104 units will be offered to low-income students. Up to 26 of those will go to homeless students.
Tacoma Housing Authority pays the rent subsidies down to levels that are affordable to students.
"We are learning that the crisis of homelessness and housing insecurity reaches deep into the college population," said Michael Mirra, executive director of the Tacoma Housing Authority.
The team of student leaders worked with the Tacoma Housing Authority to bring the housing subsidy program that started at Tacoma Community College to UW Tacoma.