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No vacancy: Post-secondary students struggle to find spots to live

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With less than two weeks before the start of classes, the Université de Moncton still has 120 students looking for either on or off-campus housing.

A spokesperson at the Moncton campus said that number wouldn't be alarming pre-pandemic, but rent has sky-rocketed in the city over the past two years.

The university has even secured preferred rates at certain hotels while students wait for something to open up.

Jean-Sébastien Léger, the president of the federation of students, said most on the waiting list are international students who don't have a support system to rely on in Moncton.

“New Brunswickers, they have family or friends or people around their circle they can look up to. Maybe they have housing around the Moncton area. They have cars in most cases whereas international students do not have those resources,” said Leger.

At the University of Prince Edward Island, there are over 100 students currently looking for a spot to live.

In the past week or so, the university has reached out to the community to see if people would be willing to rent out rooms.

Jerry Wang, the school's director of recruitment and first-year advising, is telling students to make sure they have proper full-time housing arrangements secured before they come to the island.

“If students do not feel like the housing is proper for them, depending on the distance, bussing, even in-class hours, that kind of thing, then is it possible for students to defer to the January semester, to 2023?” said Wang.

Wang wouldn't call the housing issue a crisis at UPEI or even a regional issue. He said the situation in Charlottetown isn't as bad as other places in Canada.

“I've talked to two students who are actually transferring to UPEI from B.C., from another province, because they felt the housing over there was not either affordable or proper enough,” said Wang.

Both Wang and Leger said many students who did online learning from home during the pandemic want to return to the classroom and the campus.

“Students want to come back in-person, want to live fully with what they have missed in the last two years,” said Leger. “So, more of them want to have a more social life around campus, want to live on campus. I know of students even from Dieppe who have lived with their parents for the past two years who want to live on campus or near campus because they want to get out of the house.”

A spokesperson for Mount Allison University said housing is still open for applications and there are a small number of spots available.

Calls and emails to the University of New Brunswick's communications and media department were not returned.

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