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The Boston Globe is in the midst of an investigative series on off-campus housing, prompted by a Boston University student’s death in a fire. The young woman lived in an illegal attic apartment.

The Globe put together a database showing shortage of on-campus housing at colleges around the country. The problem has gotten worse over the last decade. Take a look at the numbers for Rochester area colleges:


Boston Globe

Boston Globe


u of rRochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester and St. John Fisher saw tremendous growth over the last decade. We are seeing tensions in Henrietta and the city’s PLEX neighborhood over an influx of students living in off-campus housing. Henrietta restricts how many unrelated students can live in one house. An overflow of students can create issues for surrounding communities.

However, I don’t think Rochester is seeing the growth in substandard off-campus housing for students. I remember my friends at Cornell living in some truly awful apartments in Ithaca. I haven’t seen much of that here. Have you?


Links of the Day:


– The Erie County Sheriff is using cell phone spying devices and won’t discuss policies or procedures regarding the devices.

– Cuomo aides use private email to do official state business.

– Empire State Development operates in secret, without even saying why projects deserve economic priority status.

– Drug laws using weight to determine punishment should be overhauled, columnist writes.

– Buffalo police officers are suspects are getting larger. Now they are getting SUVs.

– Buffalo, Rochester and Albany orchestras are holding their own.

Things are so awkward for Bob Duffy.

7 Responses to Dorm Gap

  1. May 6, 2014 at 10:14 am Reggie Henderson responds:

    The more relevant data would be how many students want dormitory housing versus how many get it. But I guess schools do a combination of discouraging students from applying and keeping the data about how many applied secret. It reminds me of another secret that colleges keep, they don’t show “waiting list” figures for enrolled students that want a class that is full. That way you could never post on social media “there’s 200 people on the waiting list for accounting and only 40 students in the class”. That’s something prospective students could ask of a school, “how open are you with information?” “do you show how many students are denied housing” “what students are not allowed to apply for housing” “do you show waiting listsnumbers for classes that are full”. On the housing, if there’s more people that want housing than is available, it should be a profitable business to establish that privately (of course you’re taking the chance that if it is profitable, the schools will then decide to build more housing, they usually have plenty of land).

  2. May 6, 2014 at 10:24 am Jack Lamphier responds:

    Yes, but with the exception of U/R aren’t these all streetcar colleges. Meaning the majority of the students are residents of Rochester and the surrounding towns, and commute?

  3. May 6, 2014 at 10:00 pm Sarah H responds:

    I agree that Rochester doesn’t have a significant amount of substandard housing for students, however; there is a significant impact that the lack of campus housing has on adjacent neighborhoods. I have lived in the South Wedge for 20+ years and have worked all that time (along with many other neighbors, business and property owners, not just homeowners) to stabilize this area. Slowly, we have been successful. Now, every single-family or duplex home that comes on the market at $125K-ish or less is in a bidding war between young families who want to move into our neighborhood and for-profit landlords who put multiple students in that property at $2,000+ a month in rent. I fully support all efforts for Rochester to adopt a three person limit on unrelated individuals, as is the case in Henrietta. I want neighbors, not this year’s juniors and seniors.

  4. May 7, 2014 at 7:06 am Donald Van Hall responds:

    The limit on “unrelated individuals in Henrietta” above is in name only. Without enforcement single person housing is still rented to multiple students. If there are no complaints the situation is ignored. The only outward sign of the number of occupants are the cars, up to six in the driveway parked at an angle, to allow access.

  5. May 8, 2014 at 12:26 am lellingw responds:

    Students are often willing to leave in some pretty dismal housing situations in college. Geneseo had them too and they are hidden so they could easily be in Rochester and not be obvious to outsiders. The growth in Park Ave over the years from a neighborhood that many young people moved to after college to a neighborhood of people currently attended college has changed it a great deal. The drunken parties during the Park Ave. Festival makes it pretty obvious. While there is often a mantra about students living in dorms and dorm life doesn’t have to attractive or comfortable, people who are uncomfortable and in unpleasant situations won’t stay there. Even in substandard housing, students have usually had more choice in who they are living with and under whose rules they are having to conform to, for better and worse. A dorm shortage probably isn’t a solution, many people don’t want to live in the dorms and have an urge to get out into the community. Many colleges have tried to keep students on campus with nicer housing for upperclassmen, others have not. Freshman housing remains abysmal because most colleges/universities require students to live there and as new students, they feel grateful that they were accepted and got into the college they wanted.

  6. May 9, 2014 at 11:34 am Bill responds:

    How about some coverage of the alleged coming retirement of city councilwoman Palumbo mid term. The real story is how all of these council people find a way to leave office midterm, allowing council to appoint a politically connected member of the party and subvert the election process.

  7. May 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm Mary responds:

    We came home from Boston on Sunday where our daughter has been a student at Northeastern. We read the Sunday installment of that series and had met with the realtor/property manager of what will be her new apt in September.

    The gentrification of the area around Northeastern reminds me of areas around Roc and it will continue to happen across the river from the UofR. Supply and demand and a captive audience rentals. Students also do not want parents getting involved. Th property she will be in has 6 apts and is valued at a million dollars – rounded up. All the properties this man manages are owned by Chinese who are spending a lot of money in Boston buying up properties for this reason.

    Should cities institute rent controlled leases fro students? Set them for a certain length of time? Northeastern guarantees on campus housing for first three years and their programs at 5+ year programs. Rent on campus can be a third higher than off campus.

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