Student Housing Crisis

2 min

Students are preparing to go back to school, but some may still be figuring out where they’ll live. Here’s YR Media Brontë Sorotsky on how the housing crisis affects college students.

I grew up in Los Angeles, but always dreamed of moving to San Francisco. My vision of the city was a dream — based on the sitcom Full House and my dad’s wild stories of living in San Francisco in the 1970s.

So when I was accepted to San Francisco State for college, I was elated. My parents tried to warn me about San Francisco’s steep housing prices, but I tuned them out.

SF State doesn’t guarantee housing — even for freshmen — and I was put on a waiting list. I was lucky to get into the dorms my first year.

The next year, I moved into a two bedroom apartment with five other girls, thinking I’d save money. Three girls split the master bedroom, I shared the smaller bedroom with another girl, and a sixth person slept in the living room.

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I struggled to sleep and study in our loud, cramped apartment. I never had a place to be alone.

When I decided to move out, I was forced back into the San Francisco housing market. My friend and I showed up to open houses — and were visibly ignored by the realtors. We were competing with couples and young professionals for a place to live.

The rental applications asked for credit scores and job references — even background checks. It was hard for me to meet these standards as a college student.

Eventually, I found an in-law unit — where I’m still living. It’s more money than I feel comfortable paying — but I was desperate.

It’s not just students suffering in the housing crisis. Every year, we hear stories of San Francisco natives being priced out of their communities.

But as a student, the housing crisis impacts my education. I can only imagine how much more studying — and sleep —I would have gotten if I had accessible housing.

Sometimes I wish I listened to my parents when they warned me about San Francisco’s housing crunch. I was 18 and making massive decisions. But if I were living in a cheaper city, my mistakes wouldn’t have had such steep consequences.

With a Perspective, I’m Brontë Sorotsky.

Brontë Sorotsky is 21 and lives in San Francisco. Her perspective was produced by Youth Radio’s new network of journalists and artists, now called YR Media.

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