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FAMU students face housing difficulties at the start of classes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Campus buzzes on the tallest of the Seven Hills.

The first day of classes at Florida A&M University is coming to an end, after a hectic few weeks due to an on-campus housing shortage.

A university spokesperson confirmed to WCTV that 290 students remained on a waiting list at the start of the semester.

For families still in limbo, the first day of school served as a pivotal moment. For many, a resolution was needed by Monday, otherwise it might not be possible to attend fall classes.

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 try to stay positive,” Williams said.

The business major had on-campus accommodation but abandoned it weeks ago when the school asked for volunteers to make way for a crowded waiting list of freshmen.

“I know I was in 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 on Saturday.

“That’s when I first saw the mold and cobwebs, spiders, it was really dirty…all kinds of things,” she said .

Williams shared a number of images showing what appeared to be water on the floor and dirt or mold in the drawers. She said calls for help from management went unanswered.

Lakara Neverson and her daughter, Ayanna, came from Broward County to help her start a new chapter in her life. Ayanna was among hundreds of freshmen without housing on campus. Although frustrated, Neverson said they found what they thought was a decent alternative. They too signed a lease at the Social Seminole.

They too arrived in supposedly unlivable conditions.

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

Neverson asked the apartment management to clean up. He was told that they were understaffed due to the pandemic and had not been able to clean every unit before move-in day.

The mother and daughter searched all over town over the weekend, but found nothing. She was ready to unenroll her daughter from classes Monday morning. Then a miracle happened.

On-campus housing opened up and Ayanna was able to get it.

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

WCTV contacted The Social Seminole management twice on Monday, but never received a response.