It’s that time of year when thousands of post-secondary students make the big move into dorms before the next school year.
SFU students who were successful in securing accommodation said they felt lucky to have secured their place.
“It’s my first day (at Simon Fraser University). I’m from Windsor, Ontario,” said SFU student Elizabeth Soulliere.
“(I) applied for housing very early on.”
Soullière is among the lucky ones, as the BC Student Alliance says thousands of people have been unable to find housing on campuses.
“The student housing situation is appalling for students. (Many) fail to find affordable housing close to campus,” Manpreet Kaur, president of the BC Student Alliance, told PKBNEWS.
“Many national students choose to live at home because it is the only option available to them.
“There are also a lot of rental scams, especially for international students who are vulnerable, which means most of them end up living with five or six other students in a suite because that’s all they can find and afford.
Kaur said that in these cramped living conditions, most of the time these international students do not sign a formal tenancy agreement, which leaves them with no protection under residential tenancy law.
She also said those who are forced to live off-campus do not have the same access to student resources as those who live on-campus and may not have the same school community experience.
At the University of British Columbia, over 13,000 students are housed on campus.
“About 4,000 freshmen arrived last week and (this weekend) this is the last of the groups to move in, about 3,500,” said Andrew Parr, a*sociate vice president of student housing and facilities. UBC Community Services.
“It’s a really exciting time of year. (Campus housing) is coveted and this is a housing crisis we face in the Lower Mainland. This year, at the height of summer, we had 8,000 students who wanted to live on campus and who we couldn’t accommodate because we didn’t have enough space.
Parr said the university recently added more than 5,500 beds over the past ten years and plans to add 4,800 over the next decade.
“We continue to grow and make these investments, but we still can’t keep up with demand,” Parr said.
UBC has now changed its 24-hour front desk service at student apartment buildings only during the day. Parr said that instead of having people at the front doors of all student buildings, they will have three traveling teams in their place.
“Students will know the phone numbers (of the teams). They can contact them for access if they are locked out or for any other situation that may arise. Some people think we’re taking away some security or some aspect of what we offer at the residence, but we think we’re improving (student) security and it’s a very good system.
Parr said the school will consult with students as the year progresses to see if the new system is working.
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