Today’s Poll

Connecting Selkirk College Students with Housing Options

Bob Hall
By Bob Hall
August 29th, 2022

The annual pre-semester scramble to find housing is on, as out-of-region students attending Selkirk College search suitable accommodation for the upcoming academic year.

With hundreds of learners uprooting from their hometowns for opportunities at educational pathways and career-ready programs at campuses in Castlegar, Nelson and Trail, secure places to live during their journey are at a premium.

In a region with a notoriously tight rental market, it’s an annual riddle that support teams at the college are working to help solve.

“There is so much that goes into successful outcomes for students and a proper place to live is high on the list,” says Rhonda Schmitz, Director of Student Development at Selkirk College.

“Though finding housing is ultimately the responsibility of students themselves, we want to help them achieve a situation where the focus is on school and the excitement of learning is the priority. In order to make this happen, we need the community to be part of the solution.” 

Selkirk College has limited on-campus student housing options on the Castlegar Campus and Nelson’s Tenth Street Campus, but those units are snapped up early in the application process. Last fall, the Provincial Government approved funding for 148 extra units of housing that are currently in development at the Castlegar Campus and Silver King Campus in Nelson, but those two facilities are not slated to open until 2024.

Selkirk College has resources on its website to help connect students with landlords willing to take students, including a Housing Board that has a variety of options.

A new addition to the resources this year is a third-party app called Happipad, a tool that creates affordable housing by unlocking hidden housing supply through spare bedrooms. Founded on the idea that renting is more than a just transaction, but a way for people to connect, the concept adds a new twist that can benefit both sides.

Through Happipad, hosts create a profile that provides details on themselves and sets a monthly rent. Renters who sign-up also create a profile focused on personality traits. The app then helps match the two sides. 

“There are lots of people in the communities we serve that have an extra bedroom or two,” says Schmitz.

“This app takes an approach based on matching compatible people and makes it much easier for folks to open up their homes. Our students come from so many interesting and amazing backgrounds, it’s a cool way for people to make a deeper connection with the college community.”

You can find out more about Happipad and other landlord/tenant resources at the Selkirk College website: https://selkirk.ca/off-campus-housing

Categories: EducationGeneral