Student housing crisis persists as cost of living rises in Seattle | Governance






Mary Gates Hall is home to many resources for University of Washington undergraduate students, including the Office of Minority and Diversity Affairs, the Career Center, and the Center for Undergraduate Advising, Diversity and Student Success.




UW has 30,657 undergraduate students who live on campus or in off-campus apartments and houses. According to 2019 Campus Climate Surveymore than a fifth of the students surveyed said they had difficulty finding accommodation and more than a tenth had difficulty finding food.

UW offers different food and housing resources to help financially challenged students, depending on which UW campus the student attends.

At UW Seattle, the UW Pantry offers food pickup three to four days a week and is located in Poplar Hall. the University District Food Bank also provides meals to any student with a Husky ID card during the school week.

All three UW campuses also offer emergency aid for students in financial difficulty, which provides assistance with food security, emergency medical and dental expenses, housing and living expenses, natural disasters and loss of income.

ASUW Director of Campus Partnerships Michael Saunders said students should seek help from the Office of Minority and Diversity Affairs if they are eligible and recommended to join Facebook groups that offer housing assistance.

“We may also look at temporary housing programs in the area to help with the transition process while students search for housing,” Saunders said. “Short-term emergency loans can be taken out in the registration portal on MYUW up to $2,500 with a time frame of approximately 3 months for full payment.”

Saunders said he believed there was a student housing crisis, and as a residential counselor he witnessed many students needing emergency housing assistance.

“I have seen many students within [Housing & Food Services] need emergency housing due to poor housing structures in terms of payment and system administration,” Saunders said. “I have also seen many Greek Row and off-campus housing students needing emergency housing due to toxic housekeeping standards, exorbitant fees, and a damaging culture that was not conducive to living. student success and mental health.

Resources in the local Seattle community, including the ROOTS Young Adult Shelter also offers places for people in housing crisis. ROOTS executive director Jerred Clouse said the shelter offers unlimited housing for young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

The shelter provides meals and a hygiene center where people can use the showers and toilets and do their laundry. ROOTS also offers programs that include art classes and a writing group. People staying at ROOTS can get involved in running the shelter by helping to procure items such as backpacks, lighters, and other supplies.

“[Our] The crisis response is centered around ‘Where are you going to sleep tonight’ and ‘Can we just make sure you have a safe place,’” Clouse said. “All those other questions about education or mental health or physical health really don’t mean anything if you don’t even know where you’re going to be tonight.”

Clouse also said they believe there is a housing crisis in the Seattle community as the cost of living continues to rise and becomes more expensive than the average person or student can afford. .

“If you live in Seattle, you can just talk to your neighbor or your co-worker or your classmates or yourself,” Clouse said. “So I don’t think we have to look far to see that the cost of living exceeds affordability.”

In a growing city centered around big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft, it’s no surprise that the cost of living in Seattle –– not counting housing –– is nearly 49% higher than the national average. Clouse believes that there is a positive correlation between the rising cost of living and the number of people facing a housing crisis.

“There is very clear data that shows that for every $100 increase in average rent, there is a 30% increase in homelessness,” Clouse said. “Of course life is getting more expensive [in Seattle]fewer people can afford to live indoors.

Students experiencing a food or housing crisis can consult resources provided by UW as well as ROOTS and other Seattle-based organizations. Students interested in volunteering at ROOTS to help young adults in housing crisis can apply here.

“If we really want to end homelessness…look at how [you’re] thinking about homelessness, how [you’re] think about poverty, then act on it,” Clouse said.

Contact contributing writer Curran Nielsen on [email protected] Twitter: @curran_nielsen

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