Montreal Students Build DIY Muscle To Create Affordable University Housing

the university of Montreal's tower rises above leaf-bare parkland trees in a snow-clad scene
universite de Montreal photo by aloush is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
The landmark tower of the Université de Montréal looms above a winter landscape. The university is a member of UTILE through the L’Union étudiante.

Montreal, Quebec is unusual among Canadian and American cities: it has far more renters than owners. Like many other cities though, the amount of rental housing is not keeping pace with demand, and rents are increasing.

In this environment, students who do not live at home are particularly vulnerable. Their studies usually mean that any income to pay for housing is part-time, and inadequate for the job.

The result: student unions such as the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) and L’Unité de travail pour l’implantation de logement étudiant (UTILE) are stepping into a DIY1 breach to become affordable developers.

Why is this of interest elsewhere?

Really? You need to ask? City and towns everywhere are scrambling to preserve or build their way out of local affordable housing crises. In university and college towns, when low income students are competing with low income local residents, Montreal’s enterprising student unions may represent an answer for student associations anywhere that hope to mitigate the problem.

Read more in the McGill Tribune: SSMU Plans For Affordable Student Housing Enters Consultation Phase


  1. DIY — Do It Yourself.