By John Ployer
UPEI Off-campus Housing Coordinator in her office in Andrew Hall (Photo credits: John Ployer)
UPEI’s first Off-campus Housing Coordinator says that students can now access housing services and assistance easier going into 2020.
In a conversation with the Cadre, UPEI Off-Campus Housing Coordinator Chelsea Almeida says that the “housing umbrella” she has created has been helping students find affordable housing options.
Almeida describes her job as creating and maintaining a “housing umbrella,” a network of housing options students can hopefully rely on.
“As a team, hopefully we can find housing for students,” she says.
It took a lot of cooperation between on-campus and off-campus services to create a workable network, Almeida said. As a trained social worker who has also worked on campus in the past, Almeida had many relationships to work with.
As the first person to hold the position, Almeida has had to create many of the duties of the Off-Campus Housing Coordinator herself.
“There was no website when I started, it was starting from scratch.”
Some of Almeida’s duties include working with the Dutch Inn to house students, creating a worksheet of available housing, and negotiating with hotels and hostels on behalf of students in need of housing.
Almeida says the position has created more cohesion between the various services available in Charlottetown.
“It’s been really positive in the sense that everyone is coming together to solve the problem,” she said.
“It’s been a lot of collaboration.”
Almeida says that this year a lot has been done to educate new students coming to PEI about the housing situation and what is available to them, mostly through emails to incoming students.
Almeida says she has seen many housing success stories since she started her job, telling the Cadre the story of a newcomer that was set up with a PEI family. That newcomer is now looking to bring her daughter to PEI.
“The outreach has been wonderful, the number of people who have reached out and said ‘I have space, let’s make this work’ has been awesome”
Almeida says that the community has been really helpful towards UPEI students in need of housing, and hopes island generosity will continue in 2020.
“PEI is known for giving, and they have been giving quite a bit. Hopefully we can continue that trend.”
Students interested in finding housing can access resources by using the Off-Campus Housing website (https://www.upei.ca/off-campus-housing) or by contacting the Off-Campus Housing Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.