Off- campus housing in high demand for low income students

By Jasmin Ward
Flapjack staff

Whether you are a prospective student or simply not suited for the dorm life, finding affordable housing in Arcata and surrounding areas is a battle that many Humboldt  students are facing for the upcoming semester.

“I am struggling to find an affordable one bedroom in this city,” said Erika Akoi, a first-semester transfer student. “I don’t have enough to pay for on-campus housing because my financial aid is only enough to cover classes and school books and supplies. I would hate to have to cut my time here short because of this issue. I see other students struggling as well.”

The term “couch hopping” has become a comfortable vocabulary among students in a high housing market and low or no income students.

In Fall 2016, approximately 8,400 students attended HSU with its six on-campus living areas. Compared to other CSUs, like San Francisco State University, with its scarcity for housing for nearly 30,000 students, our campus doesn’t sound like it should be overwhelmed. Yet it is a persisting concern for many students in this high market economy.

HSU campus costs yearly range from $7,000 to $14,000 for room and board varying in price depending on meal-plan costs. The median range for a months’ rent in a one bedroom apartment is $900 which makes it higher than California average for housing.

To help combat the stresses of finals and seeking housing for those who need housing next semester, a property management fair was held on April 25 in the great hall for students in need of additional resources and renting advice.

Jessica Martensen, assistant manager at Strombeck Properties, said they offer many option for students and understand the importance of the need for a place to live so students do not have to worry about becoming homeless

“We are aware of vacancies up to 45 days in advance so I suggest students start looking in May to secure a place by July,” said Martensen. “There are homes that are month to month or year leases which students find helpful if they are in need of a place as early as May 1st.”

Like other “couch hopping” students on campus, housing was not a feasible option so off-campus is a must. The problem seems to affect older students due to priority given to freshmen.

HSU’s website offers a variety of resources and information to help in the process of finding the right off-campus environment. The school also provides a roommate listing page for students to find and connect with potential students who are new to the area or need extra help with renting costs.

“It was not too challenging for me because I used resources like craigslist,” third-year student Jimento Aikhuele said. “I did not rely on the school for help. Although my course advisor and the international center sent me links but they all proved abortive because they were not seeing me in person. My advice to this is to do research yourself. The resident halls are limited and I would advise they look in to building more houses. Being a foreigner from Africa I would benefit living on campus for the extra security during the semester but it is expensive.”

To make matters more difficult, mention that you have a furry friend and well over half the doors will be closed to you. If you’re looking for a rental property for you and your pet, the odds are stacked against you up here in Humboldt.

“My experience to those people looking for a pet friendly place is to lease a house and have housemates to help cover the cost of rent,” Martensen said. “Be aware of the common pet restrictions though here in Arcata and Eureka: Exotic Animals, Birds, German Shepherd, Doberman, Chow, Rottweiler, Akita, American Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull, Presa Canario, Great Dane and Wolf Hybrids.”

Housing & Residence Life office, located in the Jolly Giant Commons offers help for students. The office is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday, and staff is available to answer any questions about moving off campus and provide residents with a Rental Information.

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