The Santa Cruz Housing Crisis: A Student’s Perspective
I thought my “first-home-experience” would look more like this:
But I was never able to capture such an Instagram-worthy photo due to the excessive mold, soiled walls, and grimy carpets that instead disturbed me and my housemates’ view. Yes, I had unfortunately found myself in a common Santa Cruz-style housing nightmare, a story almost always told from the perspective of exploited students.
Is it because us young students are too blinded by the prospects of having our own place? Did this naivety curb me from seeing the signs of this shady lease?
But my quickness to jump into signing a lease wasn’t wholly due to naivety and ignorance. Truthfully, as with most UCSC students pinching pennies during their college years, I was more intimidated by the fleeting and few affordable housing options even available. So yes, a small ‘cozy’ cottage, seemingly well-priced, and just an account wiring away did seem like a dream come true.
I could go on about the well established statistics and notorious facts on consistently rising admissions, the stagnate supply of dwellings, and outrageous costs of on-campus housing. But, this perpetual ‘housing crisis’ rhetoric fails to reveal what’s really at stake: with only a week until Fall quarter begins, there are still hundreds of other students struggling to find a home.
So instead, I would rather present a perspective often overlooked or missed altogether– the student perspective. These accounts told on social media unveil the human element that breathes life and real urgency into the numbers:
These students’ anxiety-riddled posts point to a fateful truth: perhaps there isn’t enough room for all of us.
It is a shame that the argument over the housing crisis in Santa Cruz has only been simplified into a controversial and never-ending debate over pro- vs anti-growth. What should matter is exactly what these confessions reveal, some of the people who are really suffering: students unable to obtain the basic necessity of finding a home while pursuing an education.
As one step towards a possible solution, check out and vote on my colleague Robert Singleton’s proposal to create a regional housing strategic plan.