VIPIRG Housing Research Update
This summer, VIPIRG is doing a research project on the housing crisis in Victoria and how it relates to student wellbeing. During the 2014/15 academic year, nearly 11,000 students were on residence waitlists between UBC, SFU and UVic. Although statistics on these issues are very common to find, firsthand accounts are not accessible to decision makers or people enrolled in post-secondary institutions.
In Victoria, the vacancy rate has just dropped to 0.5 percent. A year ago it was considered among the lowest in Canada at 0.6 percent. For students, finding affordable housing can be very difficult and this remains true after graduating from university, as well.
Our goal is to give voice to students who experience difficulties in finding affordable housing, and who sometimes have to take extreme measures to find any accommodations. This can affect students’ mental health, grades, social life and overall university experience. There is an absence of student voices in the housing and planning decisions that affect students most.. Knowledge is power and we hope that highlighting the extent of the housing crisis in Victoria will inspire people to take action.
Over the last few weeks we have designed the research project and compiled a literature review. We have been looking over the work that others have done, collaborating with groups like the University of Victoria Students Society, and attending local events such as the “Rally for Rental Housing” which took place on June 22, 2017.
Over the next few weeks we plan on conducting surveys throughout Vancouver Island asking students about their housing experiences and we will also be conducting one on one interviews to engage deeply with student narratives. The housing crisis is not simply about vacancy rates but the individuals who are affected by it and, through this study, we hope to present a more holistic picture of the issue .
If anyone wants to get further involved in this project please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we are looking for people who would be willing to take part in a short interview or disseminate a survey.