Colleges consider adding on-campus housing to help solve rental crunch
In the face of a developing housing crisis in Greater Victoria, area colleges say they’re considering adding on-campus residences – one of them for the first time.
Administration staff at Camosun College say finding housing for students is a growing problem on campus.
“Last fall, we did note that it was more of an issue for students then it had been in the past,” said Joan Yates, Camosun’s Vice-President of Student Experience. “Most students are accommodated, but we also know for those who aren’t, it’s both an expensive city and a city that’s tough to find accommodation in.”
With about 20 per cent of its students coming from out of town, some 2,000 Camosun students need somewhere to stay, and that’s why the college is contemplating building on-campus residences for the first time.
“We have to look at solutions,” said Yates. “Because residences are not our core business, we’d have to look at funding opportunities outside the college to see that happen.”
Over at the University of Victoria, the school is still facing challenges to housing students despite having 2,200 beds on campus.
The school is currently in the first phase of contemplating design and construction of a 600-bed residence hall, said Joel Lynn, UVic Executive Director of Student Services.
“We are moving forward with plans, but we’re still in the very early stages of that,” said Lynn.
Student Sonia Hrynchyshyn told CTV News she was packing up and heading back to Alberta after a stressful year living in what she says was an illegal suite.
“It’s ridiculous. Trying to find a house is one of the most stressful things I’ve ever attempted in my life,” she said. “I think a lot of other people are in the same position.”
Hrynchyshyn recently penned a letter for campus newspaper The Martlet voicing her frustration that the paper’s editor said has caught on among students.
UVic says it offers resources to help students who live off-campus find housing, but the school’s student society says the solution lies on UVic property.
“Investing in housing on campus because then we’re not taking away from the community, and we’re also having access to housing on the school,” said Mackenzie Cumberland of the UVic Student Society. “Student housing is something that should be started on campus.”
Last year Victoria’s vacancy rate dropped to 0.5 per cent, among the lowest in the country.
Part two of Louise Hartland's two-part series looking at student housing. For part one, click here.