During Monday’s city council meeting, the Waterloo Town and Gown Committee delivered a presentation regarding student housing demands in the Waterloo region. Measuring the number of student tenants in the region and the number of on- and off-campus beds, the committee estimates a potential deficit of 4,730 beds.
Mary Lou Roe, city councillor of the university district, agreed that housing has continued to pose a challenge for municipalities across Canada, including Waterloo. “Students are impacted considerably by the [housing] crisis,” she said.
The 2022 review presented on Monday was the committee’s third comprehensive review of student accommodations in Waterloo (with previous reviews taking place in 2014 and 2016). Affiliated with the City of Waterloo, the Town and Gown Committee works to strengthen relationships between students, universities/colleges, the city, police, and community.
Roe added that the city is currently involved in “active development” of 4,660 potential off-campus beds, and that opportunities for “more attainable and affordable accommodations” are being explored through the city’s Official Plan Review and Affordable Housing Strategy.
Student education is another strategy that can assist with housing challenges, Roe explained. She stated the importance of searching for accommodations early, researching all potential costs and available municipal support, and knowing one’s rights outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act.
“Students are an integral part of Waterloo’s community,” Roe said. “We know we need housing to meet their needs for them to feel welcome, supported, connected, and [to be] able to thrive at our post-secondary institutions and in our city.”