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PACKED HOUSE: Brampton City Council Raises Alarm Over Shortage Of International Student Housing

“I’ve seen 25 of these kids in one home,” said Brampton councillor Gurpreet Dhillon. “I’ve seen the substandard (conditions) that they live in. Some of these homeowners who run these lodging houses, they’ll build (rooms) within kitchens. Whether we’re adding 10, 20 or 400 (students), what are we doing to ensure we have adequate housing in the city?” he added. Dhillon agreed the problem appears to be more pronounced among international students, noting that nearly a third of Sheridan’s overall student population at its three campuses in Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville are enrolled on student visas.

BRAMPTON – The City of Brampton has been prioritizing local post-secondary education offerings for several years now, but some Brampton councillors are wondering where a growing number of students in Canada’s ninth-largest city are going to live.

Wards 2 and 6 Coun. Michael Palleschi and wards 9 and 10 representative Gurpreet Dhillon both raised the issue at council’s Aug. 7 meeting, after council approved $7.3 million in funding for Algoma University’s planned expansion of its downtown Brampton campus from 500 to 1,000 students by 2023, reported Brampton Guardian.

While plans for a downtown Ryerson University campus have been put on hold indefinitely after provincial funding was pulled last year, the city is already home to Sheridan College’s Davis Campus and the Algoma satellite site. Ryerson has also increased its presence in the city through its Chang School of Continuing Education programming at city hall.

The student bodies at both Algoma and the Chang School are relatively small. But with more than 12,000 students, Davis Campus is Sheridan’s largest and the city is already struggling to accommodate them.

“You can ask every councillor up here. We all knocked on doors during the election and found a lot of houses that had 15, 17 students living in that house. International students,” Palleschi said.

Dhillon agreed the problem appears to be more pronounced among international students, noting that nearly a third of Sheridan’s overall student population at its three campuses in Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville are enrolled on student visas.

“I’ve seen 25 of these kids in one home,” Dhillon said. “I’ve seen the substandard (conditions) that they live in. Some of these homeowners who run these lodging houses, they’ll build (rooms) within kitchens.

“Whether we’re adding 10, 20 or 400 (students), what are we doing to ensure we have adequate housing in the city?” he added.

According to the city’s interim chief administrative officer Joe Pittari, a study on student housing and transportation in the city was shelved after Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government pulled funding announced by the previous Liberal government for a planned downtown Ryerson campus that could have eventually grown to up to 5,000 students, reported Brampton Guardian.

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