Rising freshman at UNF is homeless just one week before classes start

The student said he thought he would be getting a dorm room, instead he got a letter saying he’s on a waiting list

The mom of a UNF rising freshman reached out to News4JAX Monday after she found out her son, Jayziel Gonzalez, had nowhere to live -- just one week from the start of classes. And, she said the family lives three hours south of Jacksonville in Davenport.

Yadira Lorenzo told us the university notified them late about his dorm status. Now they’re scrambling to figure out their next move.

Gonzalez said he’s been looking forward to making the University of North Florida home this fall as a first year student.

He said he signed up for dorm housing on July 1 — before the deadline, and he and his mom were told at orientation a few weeks later that everyone who wanted a spot in the dorms would get one.

“We were like, okay, we’re in the safe side, you know, and then we get this email, we’re like, okay, now what I’m gonna do,” Lorenzo said.

Gonzalez got this email on August 2 saying the university staff had assigned dorms over the past week. After more than 1,800 first year students selected available bed space, he ended up as number 37 on the waiting list.

Then, he got another email from UNF three days ago saying he was still on the waiting list.

The email reads, “This was unexpected news to us.” It also offers the opportunity for him to enroll in the spring semester-- saying he has to decide by August 26.

“To be honest, I’m very heartbroken,” Gonzalez said. “I feel like they lied to me. Because like I said, we did everything on time, like, we did the contract back in July 1.”

In a statement to News4JAX, a UNF spokesperson says demand for on-campus housing this fall is extremely high, saying, “Housing and Residence Life has been accepting housing contracts from students since fall 2021 on a first-come, first-served basis, and a waiting list has been created for students who still are seeking on-campus housing. We understand the frustrations of students and their families. Staff is diligently monitoring the situation and reaching out to students as spaces become available.”

A spokesperson with UNF also said high demand for on campus housing is a national problem because off-campus rents are so high.

Lorenzo said even if they did find something off-campus to rent, that might also mean the added expense of getting her son a car.

About the Author:

I-TEAM and general assignment reporter