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SU fights housing crisis by providing accessible support services for students

By Julieanne Acosta, August 1 2022

As the Fall term approaches quickly, many University of Calgary students are finding it harder to secure housing — on campus and off campus — than in previous years. 

With so many students already placed on the waitlist, the U of C is unable to accommodate any new applications and with the current rental market, students are left with little to no options. 

In an interview with the Gauntlet, Students’ Union (SU) President Nicole Schmidt spoke on the issue and how the SU is hoping to help students in need. 

“The university’s residences are full for the first time in recent memory,” said Schmidt. “There are students who are waitlisted currently who have been told they cannot be accommodated. In addition to this, off-campus housing availability is well low pre-pandemic levels as Calgary is experiencing a less than one per cent vacancy rate.” 

“The SU is currently having discussions with the university about how we can help accommodate some of these students,” Schmidt continued. “Currently students are being referred to [Southern Alberta Institute of Technology]. It’s an imperfect solution but it’s one that will hopefully relieve some pressure and stress from students. That being said, off-campus housing remains difficult for some students to find.”

Schmidt implores those who may have an unused room or suite that is up to the rental standards in their home to consider renting it for the school year to students. Landlords can visit places4students.com — a rental board has been created by the SU — to post their listings where students can easily access them. Though the SU is working to help the current situation, Schmidt mentions the importance of having more resources for students dealing with financial stresses. 

“The SU has created a rental housing board where landlords and tenants can host or find a rental. If anyone has a spare room or any type of suite that is safe for students to rent please consider renting it,” she said. 

“Long-term more conversations need to occur if this is a recurring issue,” Schmidt continued. “Access to safe affordable housing for students has always been an ongoing concern but this year’s students are having an even more difficult time than usual. So long-term it would be nice to see additional affordability and accessibility support for students. This can be obviously for housing but also for forms of other financial stress relievers. For example, the United Conservative Party has cut the tuition tax credit which has put more financial burden on students.” 

To learn more about accessibility at the U of C, visit the Student Accessibility Services (SAS) website. SAS is available for any student both enrolled or thinking of attending the university and helps organize academic accommodations and funding for disability-related services. For students looking for housing or tenants open to renting to students, visit places4students.com and search for the University of Calgary listings.

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