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The Search in Finding Housing: A Never Ending Hunt?

Happy New Year to all!

The holidays may be behind us, but the saying ’tis is the season is still pertinent for many students. Why? This is definitely the season for house hunters!

The first few months of 2020 are critical for finding housing. Those of us who have yet to find somewhere to live during next academic year will be spending countless hours to secure housing. As a disabled student, I have always experienced challenges in finding wheelchair accessible housing. However, since living in Kingston, these challenges have very much increased.

Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2018 March 6.

I am cognizant of the fact that such a task is probably difficult for all students, but there is an additional struggle when wheelchair accessibility is requirement – especially in Kingston. Most housing structures that surround Queen’s are multi-levelled and very old, which is typically a combination I need to stay clear of because it is usually not wheelchair accessible.

One of my only option is to live in apartment buildings, and there is a few beautiful buildings that are within walking distance to campus. However, there is a significant price difference between student housing and non-student housing. I struggle with the fact that I must pay double (or more) simply because I have yet to find accessible student housing that is available when I need it.  I have attempted to search for a roommate, but unfortunately this is not as easy for me compared with non-disabled folks. I am not surprised, and do not blame them, when they change their minds when I disclose my disability.

Most home owners do not consider the gap in housing for disabled students. I have met one and was honestly surprised when I visited the accessible house. It was amazing to see and I am still in awe of the homeowner for converting the space with accessible features just because it was the right thing to do. Imagine if all homeowners shared this same perspectives… would this increase the rate of disabled students in postsecondary institutions? While I cannot confirm for sure, I am certain that it would have a positive impact.

I am spending my first year of graduate studies in an undergraduate residence – and while I am grateful that this option was offered to me, it was not what I had envisioned for myself at this stage of life. As another term starts, I cannot help but worry that I will not find any off-campus accommodations for next year…

Does anyone else have similar experiences?

Posted in Accessibility, Built environments, Disability, Kingston, New Students, Uncategorized

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