Newcomers struggle for stable housing

TRU international students find difficulty to find lodging as Canada experiences a housing crisis

The housing crisis hasn’t been friendly to many renters in Kamloops and across the country as rental prices rise to outrageous levels. Students are not safe from this crisis either with many newcomers to the city struggling to find stable housing.

Mansella Albin, a second-year Business Administration student, arrived in Kamloops for the first time this fall. Like many International students, Albin, alongside a group of friends, decided to rent an apartment off-campus together.

However, right before arriving, their plans fell through, as the landlord cancelled their application and no reason was given as to why.

What was supposed to be a first day full of excitement in a new place turned out to be one of Albin’s most stressful times.

“I of course panicked, and we immediately booked two weeks in an inn right around here and we kept on checking for houses in those two weeks, but we found nothing.”

Albin also discussed the difficulty of looking for places to live here in town. “It is so hard to find a house being an international student. They see we don’t have a stable income here yet and they need that, or they ask for previous references and most of us don’t have that either. So, it was hard finding a house, since every house we were looking into was either given to someone else or was just too expensive for the 3 of us, we gave up on the idea of living off-campus.” 

Luckily for her, she was able to book a room in one of the University’s residences, and her friends found a reasonable solution.

“I checked if I still had the room which I booked with McGill, and luckily enough I did have the residence room, so I am currently staying there right now. My two other friends are staying on a long-term lease in an inn and suites facility.”

Albin believes that due to the on-campus classes, more students are coming to Kamloops and places are overbooked.

“Right now, Kamloops is having an influx of international students from everywhere, so I do feel like there’s somehow a shortage of housing facilities for us students, which is understood,” but the frustration of being denied a home is always there. “One of the reasons it’s hard finding housing is because they double-check our backgrounds and the whole process takes so long, and if in the end, we don’t get it, it feels like a waste of time and effort. It’s also expensive. A one-bedroom apartment can be around $2,000 so as international students it is pretty hard to afford,” Albin concluded.

While her case ended on a good note, not everyone has that privilege. There are currently around 200 TRU students living long-term in hotel rooms while they wait for better housing opportunities. With the university’s request to build housing units rejected by the city, there’s no telling when they will be able to find a suitable home.