Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Students overworked, overcrowded as they struggle to find homes near campus

Aug 30, 2022 | 4:28 PM

Bart Everson / CC

The Vice President at the Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) says lots of people starting university next week still don’t have a place to live. 

Between sky-high rents and a lack of apartments, some students are resorting drastic measures, Sydney Keyamo said.

“I’ve seen students renting out their living rooms, splitting bedrooms into two or splitting living rooms into two and putting up screens,” Keyamo said in an interview. “That way they can fit two more people in a rental to bring the price [per person] down.”

Keyamo said it’s alarming to see the amount of students just starting their search for roommates or a place to live on Dalhousie’s mobile app, which has a channel dedicated to housing. 

“It’s kind of heartbreaking, because [new students] really don’t know what to expect,” she said. “Who’s supposed to break the news that you’re not going to find an apartment within one week, especially with a budget of say, $500 max.”

Keyamo said people have been reaching out to the DSU for help finding places. While the students union can help people find available units, there’s no guarantee those units will be affordable or close to campus. 

“It’s hard to watch.”

Available housing not always accessible

In the past, moving off the peninsula typically offered better prices and more options for deal-hunting students, but Keyamo said, with many dependent on public transit, it’s not realistic anymore.

“Living outside the peninsula is a great option. But it’s only a great option if it works for transportation. And right now, we’re not seeing that.”

Halifax transit recently began cutting trips as it struggles with staffing shortages.

The DSU is looking at other ways to help students, she said, and is even considering bringing back some ad hoc bursary programs to help with the cost of housing and tuition. In the past, the bursaries were funded with surplus money the union had during COVID. 

Keyamo said they’ll only be bringing bursaries back if there’s enough money to support them.

To bridge the growing gaps between income and rents students are taking on more hours at their part-time jobs, with some students telling Keyamo, they’re planning to work as many as 30 hours a week.

“They’re trying to juggle being housing insecure and food insecure with managing full time school,” she said. “That may have been a solution that worked for the summer when maybe some people aren’t taking classes, but I think things are really going to shift now.” 

Looking for help?

Keyamo recommends students who are struggling to find a place to live use the Dal Mobile app to connect with potential roommates, or reach out to Dalhousie’s housing advisors for help with the apartment search. 

She also noted, it’s important that students remain vigilant so they don’t fall into a rental scam in their haste to find a home.


Leave a Reply