As the fall semester approaches, Confederation College students will start moving into residence this weekend.

The residence is full, and Thunder Bay's ongoing rental housing crunch is affecting students searching for off-campus housing, said Confederation College president Jim Madder.  

"[It] continues to be a very, very tight housing market for students," said Madder, noting that more out-of-town students are enrolling at the college.  

Ravi Patel came to Thunder Bay from India to attend the college's aerospace manufacturing program last January and remembers the struggle to find housing.  

Ravi confederation college

Aerospace manufacturing student Ravi Patel said he and his housemates are making room for students coming from India while they search for places to live in Thunder Bay. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

“I was living in a hotel for three nights,” Patel said. “Then afterwards I found a house. And we were living almost 13 people in a house for one month."

Now, Patel is trying to help other students coming from India for the fall semester to find accommodations. Meanwhile, he and his housemates are making room for them in their three-bedroom home.

"So right now we are living five people in a house,” he said. “[And] two more girls might be coming in.”

Confederation College's Student Union [SUCCI] sees the problem first-hand. 

"We have a steady traffic of students that do come to the desk here at the Student Union,” said SUCCI president Chris Cartwright. “We have no real staff available ... to run a housing registry as such.  But we do take listings from the general public and provide them to our students."

Chris Cartwright SUCCI

Confederation College Student Union president Chris Cartwright says many students have trouble finding off-campus housing that is both affordable and desirable in Thunder Bay. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

Cartright hopes that student housing won't be an issue by the fall of 2015, when the college plans to open a new 128-bed residence.

The most recent data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation [April 2014] places Thunder Bay's overall rental housing rate at 2.4 per cent, unchanged from the previous spring.