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UBC students face lengthy waiting list for housing assistance

University experiments with 140 sq.ft. "nano suites" to accommodate 6,000 students on waitlist
Photo Dan Toulgoet

Vancouver's rental housing shortage and increasingly expensive rental rates are pushing more students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to apply for student housing than ever before, creating lengthy waitlists and driving up an already massive demand for student housing at the university.  

In a Global News report, Andrew Parr, UBC's managing director of student housing, explained that the university is receiving more last-minute requests for housing from students who would have otherwise lived in off-campus rental units. Nearly 6,000 students are on the waitlist for housing this year, Parr said, an increase of nearly 3,000 since 2010. Rental rates for campus housing also increased by 20 per cent in 2015. 

"The Vancouver housing crunch is a significant player," Parr told Global. "Finding affordable and proximal housing to UBC here in the Point Grey area, arguably the most expensive real estate in the country...there's a shrinking number of rental units near UBC and the rent has gotten higher."

Parr explained to Global that many students have come to the university desperate and empty-handed after trying to find suitable rental housing in the city. In response to this, the university has added 750 units to the Point Grey campus this year and has also begun experimenting with "nano suites." 

The "suites" measure 140 square feet, are fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, small fridge and study area, and will be rented out for between $675-$695 per month. Seventy nano suites are slated to be completed at UBC by 2019.