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Fanshawe College partners with rental website to help students returning to in-person learning

Fanshawe College as seen on May 20, 2020. Sawyer Bogdan/Global News Radio 980 CFPL

With the struggle to find an affordable place to live getting even harder with the rising cost of living, Fanshawe College has partnered with a website to help connect students with off-campus housing.

The college says that with the majority of students set to return to in-person learning after two years, the demand for off-campus housing is growing in four of Fanshawe’s communities: Simcoe, London, St. Thomas and Woodstock.

To support students in need, the college has partnered with Places4Students.com to give them more options and make it easier to search for listings.

“Housing is a big concern for a lot of students preparing to start post-secondary in Simcoe. It was clear that we needed to provide our students with more options for off-campus housing and an easier way to search and be notified of new listings,” states David Smith, Fanshawe’s director of retail services overseeing off-campus housing.

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Unlike other online options for finding apartments, school officials say Places4Students.com works with landlords to verify listings are legitimate. The site offers comprehensive listings, quick search capabilities and live customer support.

“We’ve had a lot of students that haven’t necessarily been studying from London, but studying at London. So just knowing that students are going to be attending classes in more of an in-person fashion, just looking at how can we support their move back this way,” said Emily Low, Fanshawe’s manager of international student engagement.

“So essentially, this new partnership is just bringing in an additional partner who has expertise and speaking with landlords, providing a resource where students can go on, get to know the area, look for a place to live where they feel safe.”

Read more: Students face surging rental market ahead of fall return to classes

Low said this option is especially important with the number of international students at the school, with different needs, and some even coming with family.

Although it’s not the perfect solution, the partnership is welcomed by the Fanshawe Student Union president.

“I know a lot of students are having problems finding a proper place. I acknowledge that this website is not going to be creating new houses or something, but it is going to create some legitimate listings,” said Ismail Aravai.

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He said the website gives students more options for legitimate listings in their search as they start to return to in-person learning at Fanshawe while also trying to find affordable places to live.

“A lot of students who are studying online from different parts of like different cities are now all moving into London or Simcoe or Woodstock, and also there are other new students who are coming for fall. So that kind of has created a shortage.”

Rentals.ca found that average rents in Canada amounted to $1,934 in July, an increase of 10.4 per cent since last year and only $20 below the pre-pandemic peak of $1,954 in September 2019.

The website shows that those renting one-bedroom units were paying as much as $1,739 in London last month, down .3 per cent from the month before.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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