Nfld. & Labrador

Housing crunch leaves MUN students scrambling

Memorial University students have found their classrooms and bought the textbooks, but for some there's one thing missing — a place to live.

Growing wait list sees 550 people still seeking on-campus accommodations

Some MUN students are having trouble finding a place to live in St. John's 2:26

Memorial University students have found their classrooms and bought the textbooks, but for some there's one thing missing — a place to live. 

Some students are being forced to stay at hotels across the city, either because they put off house-hunting for too long or  thought they'd get into residence.

Just under 1,400 students live on campus. Many others want to, and can't.

Nancy Parsons of MUN Housing Services says there is a much longer list now than in previous years.

"We have 550 people on the waiting list," Parsons said. "The same time last year, we only had about 300. Two years ago at the same time, we only had about 175."

Muhammad Uzair Munir knows all about the housing crunch in St. John's, calling it "really stressful."

After finally getting an apartment of his own, Munir is now helping two first-year students from Pakistan and Kashmir.

"I've searched a lot on Kijiji, but so many places are either far from MUN or they're really expensive," he said.

Nearly 500 people are looking for a place to rent on Kijiji, and snagging an apartment there is tough.

MUN’s Off-Campus Housing Office is where students go when they’re desperate.

But there aren’t many options there either, according to housing official Ray Critch.

"There was a really lovely bachelor apartment on Circular Road that I looked at a couple of weeks ago," Critch said. "I looked at it at 10:30. I got an email from a student looking for a place at 11 a.m., and I suggested this one ...

"By noon, the landlord called me and told me it had been rented."

Big challenge for international students

To find an apartment, students have to look early. But that’s not an option for international students.

Munir says with so many international students coming to MUN, the university and the city should do more to cater to them.

"I don't think there are enough options for international students," Munir said.

"I think there should be more facilities near the MUN area."

Meanwhile, a new residence being built at the university won't be an option until next fall.