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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

How is the housing crisis making college students anxious?

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Image of student in the Peninsula Lobby. Photo by Olivia Reid (She/Her) / Photography Editor. 

Now that the second semester has officially begun, hundreds of students are dealing with the question and stress of where they will live for the next academic school year. With apartments on a steady incline in price, coupled with an apartment shortage all over the city, students here at UMass Boston are stuck in a troubling housing situation.

Boston has single-handedly landed itself as the second most expensive city to live in as of October 2022. While Boston has lowered its place from second to sixth most expensive by November of 2022, the city is still in the top ten most expensive places to live in the United States. According to The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2022, nearly half of the renters in Boston spend 30 percent of their income or more on rent. [1,2]

The median for a single-bedroom apartment in Boston has reached a staggering $3,000 a month. According to Zumper, Boston’s rental prices can be compared to San Francisco’s apartment prices, and each city’s rental median has been tied. Since UMass Boston only provides dorms for first-year students and very few upperclassmen, the anxiety of not knowing where to live has never been more real. [2]

Peninsula Apartments and Harbor Point On The Bay, located across the street from UMass Boston, are the two most popular choices for students to rent apartments. Each complex provides convenient access to the university, which is what makes them so popular among the student body. On top of the already high rent costs, another drawback is that the demand for apartments in both complexes is so high. Undergraduate student Theodore Jouret voiced his concerns about the high costs of apartments in Boston while being a full-time student. “I love Boston, and I want to be able to continue living in the city. But with these outrageously high costs, I’m worried I won’t be able to afford anything here.” [4]

Waitlists for both Peninsula and Harbor Point have already started, and the number of names on both lists is growing by the day. To make matters worse, students aren’t guaranteed a spot in either complex, even if they submit their names on the waitlist. Jouret is one of many UMass Boston students looking to rent an apartment in Harbor Point. He expressed his worries about the waitlists and the limited number of available apartments. “I’m super worried about the waitlist. If I can’t get a place at Harbor Point, where am I going to go? The dorm lottery isn’t definite enough, and I live too far away to comfortably commute every day,” stated Jouret. [4]

Mayor Michelle Wu and her administration have proposed and previewed their plan to place a 10 percent cap on annual rent increases. The plan has been considered a softer-action plan than what many renters have been calling for since the spike. Even if Mayor Wu’s plan can make it through the legal process at City Hall, Boston would have to build over 180,000 new housing units by 2030 to relieve both the housing shortage and the rent increase. [3]

Mayor Wu and her team have also increased the inclusionary development policy implemented on residential developers from 13 percent to 17 percent. This policy requires residential developers to build a certain percentage of low-income housing units on-site or off. [1]

Although new policies and changes will take time, the housing crisis that UMass Boston students face has never felt more real in years. The housing crisis here at UMass Boston is a very current issue, and until more robust measures are adopted, this problem will exacerbate over time.

Sources:

  1. https://www.bostonglobe.com/2023/01/04/magazine/we-can-fix-housing-crisis-we-have-act-now/

  2. https://www.bostonmagazine.com/property/2022/12/23/boston-rent-trends-2022/

  3. https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2023/01/24/boston-mayor-wu-rent-control-miles-howard

  4. Student interview

About the Contributor
Samantha Beady, News Editor