Commentary: Lines Again for Students in Search of Housing for the Fall

From 2023: Students outside Almond Wood Apartments last week in 30-degree temperatures waiting for housing – photo posted on twitter by Sustainable Growth Yolo

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – A year ago, the Vanguard reported that students camped outside of Almond Wood Apartments in frigid temperatures waiting for housing.

A year later, despite the university trumpeting how much new housing has come online in the fall, nothing has changed.

A parent wrote the Vanguard on Wednesday letting us know, “Last year you did an article about students spending the night in the parking lots to secure housing.”

They told the Vanguard, “It’s happening again.”

“Monday night was Fountain Circle, last night was Aggie Square and tonight is Almond Wood Apartments,” the Vanguard learned.

“I am told kids began lining up at 11 am this morning and signing day is tomorrow. Apparently there’s ‘rain protection’ and a portable potty this year,” they explained.  “But there’s kids sitting in a parking lot all day and all night in order to rent a decent place to live.”

Last year the problem came before the city council in the form of public comment.

“Last Tuesday night at my apartment complex, I saw about 30 to 40 students, mostly first-year students with blankets, sleeping bags and tents sitting in front of our complex office waiting for the office to open the next morning in order to secure a lease for the next academic year,” a fourth-year student told the council.

He continued, “They were sleeping there or some didn’t even sleep since about 6:00 PM the night before.”

He explained, “Some of them I recognized as friends and offered them food, a bathroom, as well as my apartment to sleep in the night, but they chose not to and decided to wait it out the entire night. And so when the office finally opened the next morning, many of them sadly could not sign a lease for the next year. Only about half, maybe even less are able to get a unit. So the fact that we have to turn to these sorts of measures and not even succeed in getting housing is appalling.”

Clearly there needs to be a better system.  And there certainly should be a better way to allocate housing in an era of digital communications and the capacity to sign up electronically.

The Vanguard will continue following this developing story.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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1 Comment

  1. David Thompson

    David , the scene you describe is deplorable.  You are right, technology should solve the waiting outside overnite problem.

    However, technology will not help the half of the  students for whom there was in the end no units available.

    Do those students then get in another line outside overnite again and again until they get a bed. it would seem so.

    For me, what this points out is that Davis has a very low vacancy rate which allows rents to rise without constraint. As a result, most renters in Davis are overpaying rent.

    There are greater needs for housing than the market provides and have been for two decades.

    SO we have to ask why is Village Farms proposing to add a subdivision with so few market rate apartments that this absurd  profitable rental housing crisis will be prolonged for another ten years.

    Both UCD and the City of Davis need to build more market rate housing.

    UCD ‘s student government leaders should be addressing this issue.

    My own thoughts and not representative of either Neighborhood Partners, LLC or Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation

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