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Davis, California

Saturday, April 13, 2024

The city of Davis adopted the second version of it’s housing element, and students camped overnight in attempts to secure housing

Amidst the housing crisis Davis students camped overnight at Almondwood apartments to secure a lease


By MADELEINE YOUNG — city@theaggie.org


On Jan. 31, Davis City Council adopted the second version of its proposed Housing Element. The previous proposal was adopted last August but had to be updated as the element was not compliant with a State Housing Law. On Feb. 2, the updated version of the element was sent to the California State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and now awaits approval.  

But as new leasing contracts begin opening up for next fall’s school year, UC Davis students are experiencing effects of the city’s housing crisis. The price of rent has even forced some students to camp overnight to secure a lease, including Breanna Colonese-Dibello, a first-year environmental science and management major.

“We were looking for a three bedroom apartment at Almondwood,” Colonese-Dibello said. “It was one of the few that was in our budget and close enough to campus to bike. We heard that people were going to campout because spots fill up fast so we got there at 7:30 p.m. the night before leasing. We were able to get the last three bedroom apartment available, but camping out was not ideal. We had one sleeping bag for the three of us and it got to 35 degrees. I had a midterm the next day and the two girls who camped out with me had to skip most if not all of their classes the next day.”

According to the Davis Vanguard, there were another 30-40 students camping hoping to secure a lease for the 2023-2024 school year. Colonese-Dibello shared how urgent this problem is to students like her. 

“Before coming to Davis, I had no idea this would be an issue and our experience goes to show how big of a problem it is,” said Colonese-Dibello. “It almost seems like getting housing off campus second year is like an unsaid gift. The school should be more transparent and guarantee housing for first and second year students”. 

To accommodate students, UC Davis has partnered with The Michaels Organization to develop Orchard Park—comprising 11 four-story residential buildings for graduate student housing and family housing according to a survey report from Jan. 31.

“While the vacancy rate is lower than we hoped, we remain positive that our recent additions to student housing are having an impact,” Michael Sheehan, the associate vice chancellor for housing in student affairs, said in the report. “Lending to our optimism are the 1,500 new beds coming available this fall at the Orchard Park apartment community and plans for a new 400-600-bed residence hall.”

The effects of the housing crisis are immediate as third-year transfer student Samantha Li addressed her fear that they might not be able to find housing. 

“We’ve been trying to find a house for months, but every one we’ve looked at has been taken off the market within a week, were out of our budget or they are only leasing for immediate occupancy,” Li said. “It’s been really stressful not knowing if we’re even going to be able to find housing.”