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Hamburg Mercyhurst student volunteered for homeless awareness

HAMBURG — Student volunteers from Mercyhurst University erected a cardboard village, in a stated effort of helping Habitat for Humanity recognize Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

Melissa Salerno of Hamburg volunteered to set up boxes outside Zurn Hall on the Erie campus; volunteers spent more than 12 hours creating the makeshift cardboard homes. By spending the night outside, students experienced what it was like to be homeless.

This year’s donations benefited survivors affected by the recent typhoon in the Philippines, as well as Shelter Overflow, a program sponsored by the Erie Community Foundation, which provides food, water and shelter to the transitionally homeless in the area.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness said that, on average, more than 600,000 Americans are homeless on any given night. That figure breaks down to reveal that 22.1 percent are children, 13 percent are veterans and 42.6 percent are disabled and/or unable to work.

Outside the United States, more than 100 million people are homeless, with some of the highest rates found in India (78 million), Nigeria (24.4 million) and Brazil (20 million).

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