By Lee North and Amanda Yevdaev
Ryerson’s Student Housing Services is looking to expand its commuter hostel program to nearby hotels by the fall due to high demand.
Ryerson’s Commuter Hostel, currently located in the International Living and Learning Centre, has been constantly booked since its opening in September last year.
Valerie Bruce, co-ordinator of housing operations, said expanding the hostel concept to nearby hotels is the next step.
“I would think that places like the Bond Place Hotel, on a Tuesday night, are probably not that full,” she said, referencing a hotel on Dundas and other neighbouring streets. “If we could make that happen with them, it would be awesome.”
The current hostel has only nine rooms, which are normally sold out two to three days a week, according to Bruce. “At this point we’ve had over 300 requests for a room,” she said. For $35 a night — or $45 for a two-person shared room — the price for a commuter crash pad is less than the price of four GO train fares.
The demand for an expansion is clear, said Bruce. She hopes the media attention the hostel has received so far will help to advance future developments.
Student Housing Services is also planning several initiatives to help students find places to live off-campus. The initiatives are aimed at first-year students who live in the Greater Toronto Area that were denied residence due to the limited number of beds.
“When students apply to Ryerson, an obvious concern is if they will get into residence, and a lot of them know they won’t,” Bruce said.
Some of the funds from Ryerson’s Commuter Hostel are going toward the Off-Campus program, in which housing services sets up a space where commuter students and non-residence students can go to view listings, get their lease looked at and get general housing support. The program is still in the planning stages.
“The dream goal is to have it be a space where commuters will hang out, so we’re hoping to make a space that’s like a lounge and an office,” Bruce said.
Student Housing Services will also be hosting a fair for off-campus housing Tuesday. At the event, students can meet with online listing services and building companies that are leasing nearby to inquire about prices or book tours. Community Legal Education Ontario will also be there to educate students on their rights as tenants.