University students struggle to find affordable housing in Montreal
Advocacy group says city lacks about 5,000 rooms in residence for university students
Students are struggling to find affordable accommodations in Montreal and have started turning to specially converted hotels to meet their needs.
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EVO Montréal converted two former hotels into student accommodations two years ago. The student housing company said the community they provide for students is part of their appeal.
"There is student housing, there are apartments, but something with community lifestyle like we have here, it didn't exist, so we created that," EVO CEO Christine Poon said.
The cost of one of EVO's converted hotel rooms is $775 per month for double occupancy. For a single person, it comes to $1,200 per month.
The costs put the rooms beyond the reach of many students, said a Montreal-based student housing advocacy group.
"It meets the need, that's for sure," Laurent Levesque, the general co-ordinator for UTILE, said. "But it's really a small portion [of the student population]."
Lack of affordable housing for students
UTILE is seeking to present students with more affordable housing options soon with the help of the city.
"We have a lack of housing, about 5,000 to 6,000 rooms in residence," Levesque said. "It allows for only about three per cent of the student population to live in residences, compared to about 50 per cent in Boston."
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Levesque said part of the problem stems from Montreal universities being downtown. The institutions aren't able to afford the real estate needed to accommodate all their students.
"The fact that we have urban universities that are located downtown, we've had very limited capability to answer this need for student housing, and also, it hasn't been a priority for them historically to develop real estate," Levesque said.
UTILE is expected to make an announcement on the matter in the following week.
With files from Radio-Canada