UCSB Strives To Address Student Housing Shortage, But Some Say It’s Not Enough | Local News
UC Santa Barbara students are facing a housing shortage like never before as they struggle to find housing on and off campus before the start of the fall semester on September 23.
With only a few weeks to go before the start of the UCSB school year, the university has been able to place some students in housing while others are still frantically searching and considering living in their car or postponing the term.
On Tuesday, the university had welcomed all new transfer and first and second-year students who met the housing application deadline, UCSB spokesperson Andrea Estrada told Noozhawk.
Additionally, the university has negotiated with local hotels to make rooms available for those who cannot find suitable accommodation elsewhere for the fall term, according to a message sent to the campus community by Chancellor Henry. Yang.
“While we have not increased the number of enrollments above pre-pandemic levels, we are aware that some of our students, both undergraduate and graduate, have found it difficult to get off-campus housing, ”Yang said. “We have worked diligently to remedy the situation. Our accommodation team seeks to maximize our accommodation options both on and off campus, and we have already been able to accommodate a significant number of students from the waiting list.
Hotel rooms would include both single and double occupancy rooms, Yang said. Most of the hotels reviewed would be located along MTD’s regular bus routes, and the accommodation team is working to address concerns raised by students regarding safety, management and meal plans for these arrangements, a Yang said.
The cost would exceed the amount students would pay for similar university accommodation, but would be covered by funds provided by the university from a combination of campus funds, according to Yang.
Although the university has not provided Noozhawk with any additional information on the hotel negotiations, Student Associate President Yuval Cohen said the hotels will provide around 400 places for students.
“There are still a lot of risks and safety issues associated with hotels,” Cohen told Noozhawk. “Will there be ARs?” How will meal plans work? How will students return to the hotel at night if they are staying on campus to study late at night? “
As the university tries to solve the housing crisis, some students say it is not enough.
“It seems we are all kind of waiting for the response from the university because there is so little we can do, but it looks like the university is waiting for the problem to resolve itself,” Gurleen Pabla, Cohen’s chief of staff, says Noozhawk. “There’s this big piece of the puzzle that they really ignore, but that’s the whole point.”
The AS President’s office created a survey to collect data from students regarding accommodation, return to in-person classes, and potential remote options.
With over 4,500 responses as of Thursday, 65.7% of students said they had a place to live, 15.4% of students said they could have a place to live and 14% said that they had no place to live, according to Cohen.
Nearly 2,000 students responded that they would like to return to campus in person for the fall term, and “a very large portion” wanted the university to offer a hybrid option, according to Pabla.
“People who wanted the hybrid option often said they wanted to be in person, but wanted more COVID-19 security measures in place,” Pabla said.
Cohen plans to send the survey to the UCSB administration as soon as possible in hopes of getting more responses from the university, she said.
“The administration has been very open to having conversations with us, but we haven’t seen it really come to fruition, so I want them to see real data and real feedback from the students,” he said. she declared.
A student organization called Organize IV has created a statement to ensure safe return to campus, and much of the statement provides an online option for students who are unable to find accommodation. The statement demands that the UCSB administration and the Academic Senate provide an online option for students and staff due to the lack of housing.
On Wednesday, the statement was approved by the Isla Vista Tenants Union, the Santa Barbara Tenants Union, UCSB Campus Democrats, UCSB4COLA, the Office of the External Vice President of State Affairs, the Office of the external vice-president of local affairs. and the office of President AS, among others, according to an Instagram post.
“AS leaders made it clear to administration that if these students did not have housing, they would need remote options,” Cohen said. “I hope they got it, but it’s really, really scary.”
The Housing Coalition, a group of students from Organize IV, the Isla Vista Tenants Union and other students who want to help, created a supplemental survey last week that specifically asked students about housing.
“The purpose of this survey was that we wanted to hear what the students had to say about the housing crisis because they felt it had not been resolved by the administration,” Pabla said.
The survey and responses were shared with Cohen and his staff.
Of the 1,410 responses, 28.5% of people said they did not have a place to live and 55.9% of people said they did.
A more open-ended question in the survey asked what students would do if they didn’t get housing at the start of the school year, and Cohen said many of the responses mentioned postponing college, commuting to a remote location, getting an Airbnb or living in a car.
“A lot of people weren’t sure what to do; it was crazy, ”Cohen said. “The reason we were so frustrated was that we didn’t get an answer. I don’t know what students are supposed to do if they find themselves homeless.