Housing Insecurity

Housing is a complex issue, and housing shortages are currently impacting much of the population in Ontario. This issue has a significant impact on wellbeing, and many students have reported having to choose between a safe location and cheaper housing costs. Students must navigate between competing priorities, including balancing academic success with working to offset their costs. Furthermore, while undergraduate students often start off in residence or university housing, graduate students must often make long-term decisions about housing without having a full understanding of their new city. Many landlords require a credit check and local references, which makes even acquiring housing a serious problem for some international students.

International students may be vulnerable to couch-surfing due to precarious housing situations. Incoming international students undergo significant life transitions and are often required to find housing without their regular social supports. Difficulty finding safe and appropriate housing and the associated instability have been linked to higher rates of anxiety, stress, and depression. International students are also at risk of mistreatment from Landlords, as they may be less aware of their tenancy rights. These issues demonstrate that investing in quality, safe, and affordable housing is a key issue in supporting international students in the long-term.

Two students studying in their residence

  • Sheridan College has partnered with organizations to help facilitate quality and safe housing for international students.
    • Partnership with Canada Homestay Network — A homestay refers to when an individual is hosted by a family. Through this partnership, Sheridan College can ensure that the homestays are carefully vetted, while also providing the opportunity for cultural immersion and additional support as international students navigate their adoptive homes.
    • Partnership with Places4Students.com — This partnership with an established provider of off-campus housing, allows international students to connect with a large number of landlords in local areas. Listing fees have also been significantly reduced or entirely removed, to further incentivize landlords and increase the available listings.
  • Northern College has developed a Student Resource Coordinator role, that has a specific focus on facilitating housing supports for students. Through this role, students can access virtual peer groups to find roommates and homestay opportunities and to connect with community housing and property managers in the area.
  1. Establish partnerships with landlords and property managers – By creating partnerships with local landlords, campuses can help to increase access to potential housing options for students.
  2. Educate international office staff on housing issues – And have them available to international students for counsel. By providing this information upfront, as well providing in-house resources who are knowledgeable about rental laws in their communities, students can avoid common tenancy issues.
  3. Prepare students for the housing market – Encourage them to begin the house hunting process ahead of time, and educate them on questions to ask, etc.
Guide: PDF Version