Cal students struggle to find affordable housing in Berkeley

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Many University of California students say they struggle to find affordable housing near the Berkeley campus. (KGO-TV)

The University of California system says it will add 2,500 more California students next fall.
"And it's consistent with the university's plan to grow California undergraduate enrollment by 10 thousand students over three years," said David Alcocer, the Director of UC system's operating budget.

That means it will be even harder for all students to find cheap places to live near campus.

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"As a result, the president has put together the housing initiative and this housing initiative will bring an additional 14,000 beds by 2020," said Ricardo Vazquez, a UC system's spokesperson.

But the problem seems to be the worst at UC Berkeley.

Cal has the lowest percentage of beds for students of any campus with 22 percent of beds for undergraduates and 9 percent for graduate students.

System wide the number is 38 percent for undergraduate and 19.6 percent for graduate students.
Cal says it is in the process of building more dorms, and it has identified nine sites for new students, including housing at People's Park which is owned by the university.

People's Park has drawn some concern because it has a history. In 1969 there was a riot in the park and a student was shot by police. There are also a lot of homeless who live there.

"I see an environment that is really truly for everyone. I see a community garden and people play basketball here. It's a place that serves a lot of different people and different needs," said Jessica Barajas, a photographer.

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There is no denying that the lack of affordable housing is a serious problem for Cal students. Leon Strowghter, a student at Cal says he commutes from Richmond because he can't afford to live in Berkeley.

"I pay about one-thousand a month and if I were to have the same size house here, it would be at least 3-thousand dollars a month," said Strowghter.

UC Berkeley says it hopes to present its housing plan to the regents in March.

Click here for more on the housing master plan task force.

Related Topics:
educationaffordable housingUC BerkeleyhousingeducationBerkeley
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