As many students struggle to find a place to live next year, the University of Guelph is beginning the process of planning to provide more housing.
Mayor Cam Guthrie made reference to the effort during his annual State of the City Address on Thursday morning, with confirmation provided by Lori Bona Hunt, the university’s director of integrated communications.
“This is just in the beginning stage. Once we have details and a plan to share, we will let you know,” Bona Hunt said in an email response to inquiries from GuelphToday.
Among the unanswered questions posed are what inspired the creation of an expanded student housing plan and what timeline university officials have in mind for those units coming on board.
The university admitted a record number of students for the 2022/2023 school year, with 5,899 students accepting offers to the school and 5,150 first-year students applying to live in campus housing.
Though the university no longer guarantees a spot in residence for first-year students – something put on hold at the start of the pandemic and not reinstated – they receive priority placement based on availability
Typically, the university has space for about 4,700 students in campus residences, but accommodations for about 5,000 were made this time around. That means, however, there were at least 150 first-year students in need of off-campus housing.
That’s just first-year students. The school has about 30,040 students overall, including more than 1,750 international students.
“(Housing) is a big issue for us and we will tackle it with you,” U of G president Charlotte Yates said in her closing remarks during Thursday’s event hosted by Guelph Chamber of Commerce.
Students, like many in the community, are feeling the impact of the housing and affordability crises in a city recently deemed to be one of Canada’s most expensive cities to rent one and two-bedroom apartments in.
In December, Guelph was ranked as the seventh-most expensive city in Canada to rent a one and two bedroom apartment by rentals.ca, with rent averaging around $2,049 and $2,319 per month, respectively.
“(The struggle) is very real … for parents too,” Guthrie commented to the crowd Thursday morning. “We cannot accept $1,000 a month room rentals for students.”