The Kingston Student Housing Crisis

It’s that time of year again when the streets of Kingston, Ont. will be packed with the students of Queens University and St.Lawrence College.

Roughly the 30,000 students and staff of both school do give the local economy and business owners an up, some others seem to disagree. 

Home Base Housing, which is based in Kingston and provides supportive housing and housing-related services in Kingston has been accusing the students of taking local renters out of the housing market to the point where some end up on the streets. 

Tom Greening, the Executive Directer of Home Base housing and Pierre Klein who is the Manager of special projects have had their say in all of this.

Tom Greening stated “Low-income residents are getting the short end of the stick in terms of the cost of rental housing and quality of life because of the success of Queen’s and the college,”. 

Both Klein and Greening presented their input during a presentation to the Mayor’s task force on housing in Kingston. He urged them to hold both schools accountable for their social responsibilities in the community. 

“Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College should not be able to increase their programming until they build affordable housing on campus or near campus,” said Klein.

Queens University alone has had an increase in students over the past 10 years where the number of students was almost at 26,000 last year. 

“This growth alone has had the impact of requiring the consumption of 3,428 beds or an equivalent of 857 four-bedroom homes or 1,714 two-bedroom apartments over the last ten years,” said Klein.

If some parents and students have a hard time paying $700-$1150 per bedroom in Kingston, which doesn’t include utilities, how to the single families and the working poor compete to pay these numbers. 

St.Lawrence College has responded to this topic where president and CEO Glenn Vollebregt of the college stated “St. Lawrence College takes its community responsibilities seriously and regrets that we were not given an opportunity to clarify information contained in Home Base Housing’s report to the Mayor’s Task Force on housing. We would welcome the opportunity to participate as a contributing member of the Mayor’s task force.”

Co-chair and current coun. Mary Rita Holland of the Mayor’s Task Force on housing responded “We have been doing all the data gathering, and as a team, we are doing a deliberating session, and we hope to come up with some recommendations and common ground that we can provide to members of public and council,”.