Victoria’s Student Housing Crisis A Report by the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group

Executive Summary


Finding affordable housing on and off-campus is becoming increasingly difficult for postsecondary students in Victoria, British Columbia. Lack of affordable housing has far-reaching impacts for both individual health and wellness and society. Methodology The intent of this study was to explore the experiences of students as they relate to rising housing costs in Victoria and beyond. Specifically, we wanted to understand whether housing costs are associated with impacts on physical health, mental health, academics and quality of life post-secondary for students. We carried out a mixed-methods study from June 2017 to August 2017 on student housing in Victoria. The study involved a quantitative survey of 386 post-secondary students from the University of Victoria, Camosun College and Royal Roads University, along with semi-structured interviews with 8 students from the University of Victoria. 

Key Findings 

• The majority of students are living well below the poverty line (UFCW 2009) and the majority of their income is being used to pay for housing costs.
• Housing in Victoria has a negative impact on students’ finances, mental health, and diet 
• Finding housing in Victoria is extremely difficult due to high rent, lack of housing, high competition, and illegal and discriminatory practices by property owners/managers
• The interviews supported the survey results Key Recommendations 
• UVic must invest in more affordable on-campus student housing
• UVic and UVSS must create solutions, such as a student housing database and grocery pick-ups, to ease the difficulties of finding housing and food in Victoria 
• The City of Victoria must enforce punitive measures on predatory and discriminatory property owners/managers, and invest in affordable housing for students
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