University District not affordable for students

At Sonoma State University, an issue arises where students find it difficult to find housing or even afford it. Living on campus for two years and then moving off campus for housing seems to be a popular trend among students. 

At the end of spring semester, students realize that their time of dorm rooms and easy walks to class will come to a quick end and the search for off campus housing will begin. In reality this process mostly ends in disappointment and unwanted stress. 

With this situation in store, theUniversity District buildings being built across the street from school seemed like the easiest solution to off campus housing for students, right until the prices of these new homes were researched.

The University District, despite it’s name, wasn’t being built with students in mind. The Press Democrat states that these houses were put on a long hold during a rainy winter, but as soon as progress was being made, families could start purchasing and moving in. 

During a crash in the housing market years ago, the project was halted. Due to improvements in the market as of recently, the project was restarted making it attractive to homebuyers. 

According to Keith Woods, the executive director of the North Bay Builders Exchange, Rohnert Park is where the action is. However by action, he doesn’t mean the action of desperate students needing a place to live.

According to City Engineer Mary Grace Pawson, “this gives an opportunity for families to locate in Rohnert Park. We know there is pent-up demand.”

What does this mean for the students of Sonoma State University who demand housing? 

We already know it’s not an easy process to find a home here for a reasonable price. There’s often credit checks, background checks and sometimes the harsh reality of not being able to have a parent cosigner on a lease. The amount of hurdles that can stand in the way of secure student housing can make the process seem impossible. 

The University District, as practical as it is being less than a mile from campus, clearly doesn’t fit to the needs of students.  Another one of these issues is the owners of the homes in the University District. Owners either accept students living there or disregard the thought as a whole. 

Sophomore Andrew Olafson and his other three roommates and fellow students at Sonoma State University are the few known that have found a house in the University District to sign a lease. 

The owner that invested into Olafson’s new home gave him and his roommates a year lease. The twelve month lease means adding four more months to pay rent while on summer vacation, which adds to the cost of living, and doesn’t seem to accommodate a student lifestyle.

One roommate in Olafson’s house is paying over a thousand dollars permonth for the master bedroom, while the others pay a little under $900. 

The cost of utilities also adds about $50 per roomate each month, depending on the utility use. As a result, the student budget becomes even tighter.

Overall, Olafson and his roommates are paying almost $3000 more than what they paid in the past on campus, or if they were to have picked a different location in Rohnert Park.

Sonoma State University has some of the best aspects a student can ask for, but being able to find more affordable and more convenient housing should be fought for. 

With the University District already half way through its building process, we can only hope that better housing will be available to students in the near future.