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Monday, March 4
The Indiana Daily Student


OPINION: Bloomington needs more balanced housing options


Finding a place to live as a college student can be difficult. You look at apartment after apartment searching for the perfect place to call home for the next few years. However, that place is often expensive. Bloomington needs a better balance between expensive luxury apartments and more affordable apartments with fewer amenities located close to campus. 

The apartments popping up near and around campus over the last few years seem built for students who are looking for lots of extras. At The Standard apartments you can find nonessential amenities like rock climbing walls and movie theaters. Even pet grooming spas can be found in these newer apartment complexes. These extras come at a high price and, while great for those who can afford them, do not service the needs of many college students on a budget.  

I’ve lived in Bloomington my entire life and the skyline didn’t always include these giant, shiny new apartments. Most were small complexes the average college student or family could afford. They were only a few stories tall. And they provided what most of us needed — a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen. In some cases, even a small pool which, as a child, seemed like a great luxury when you visited a friend. 

Bloomington’s affordable housing incentive requires the leasing company make at least 15% of the units affordable for people making 120% or less of the area’s median income. But these apartments are largely developed for undergraduate students and not for the rest of the community. While anyone may be able to move into these apartments, would parents with two or three children want to live in a place primarily occupied by students? Would a Ph.D. graduate student be able to afford to live here? My guess is probably not. 

RelatedOPINION: The problem with Bloomington apartments and rising rent Bloomington isn’t solving the housing dilemma — they’re exploiting it.

As I’ve suggested, high-end apartments aren’t just expensive for students, but for everyone. According to a 2020 Bloomington Housing Study, many neighborhoods are pay more than 30% of their income to housing. More than 60% of renter households and nearly 30% of owner households in Bloomington are cost burdened.” The study also found the biggest shortage in housing is for people making less than $25,000. 

So, what’s the solution to the issue? It’s not creating more gigantic luxury apartment complexes with basketball courts and tanning beds. Many students can’t afford to pay $1,200-$1,500 per bedroom. And students shouldn’t need to go into deeper debt to live comfortably. We need simpler housing options where college students have their basic living needs met with easy access to campus and without breaking the bank.  

It’s time for a change. Bloomington, and the developers from out of town who are responsible for these student-focused complexes, should begin to focus more on housing affordability and less on building size and profit. They should create plans that benefit our entire community, not just those who can afford to live in a complex that seems more like a resort than an apartment building.  

It’s understandable that students who can afford higher rent prices may want access to extra amenities. But more attention needs to be paid to the students who cannot and struggle to find a home in a location near campus. All students deserve access to quality housing. 

Jack Davis (he/him) is a freshman studying journalism. 

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