Arts & Life

CSULB students share rooms due to lack of affordable housing

By Nicholas Kim & Ammi Ruiz

The cost of housing at Long Beach State has driven some students to look for alternative housing at local residences. Some students have gone as far as sharing a bedroom with multiple roommates, sacrificing their own privacy and comfort.

Housing fees at CSULB for the 2019-20 academic year are $6,994 for a triple-occupancy room, $7,994 for a double-occupancy room and $8,994 for a single-occupancy room. These rates do not include summer or break periods.

Second-year music education major Bryan Jimenez and third-year economics major Cris Lopez both pay $400 a month for a shared room at a home near the Bixby Knolls neighborhood.

“I was looking for my own room, not a shared room, but [the owner] told me the private rooms were filled up,” Lopez said. “But she also had this shared room, and it was cheap.”

The bedroom where they sleep is found at the top of a narrow staircase, which is lined with eerie paintings, including one with a ghastly, wrinkly figure that resembles a screaming Voldemort.

A stairway off of Long Beach Boulevard leads down to the backyard of the five-bedroom, four-bath house. Students like to hang out in one of the patio areas outside, but they admit they spend most of their time at school.

Many college students like Lopez and Jimenez are enticed by the affordability of sharing a room. One-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments for rent near CSULB range from about $1,300 to $6,000 a month, prices many students find too steep.

“It saves me a lot of money,” Jimenez said. “Where I lived last year, it was $550 a month. I had more privacy there, I guess, but I’m trying to save a lot of money.” 

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Bed1
One of the beds in Jimenez and Lopez's bedroom.

Ammi Ruiz

Sometimes students are lucky enough to have friends they can share a room with, but   Jimenez and Lopez were complete strangers before they started living together. They said they get along well and haven’t had any problems with their other roommates.

“There’s also an Australian lady that lives here, and an Irish dude that lived here, but he left already. There aren’t any other students here. They’re all old,” Jimenez said, who wasn’t sure about the exact number of people living in the spacious home. 

Most of the space in their bedroom is taken up by three separate bunk beds covered by curtains, but privacy hasn’t been a major issue. Both students plan on moving out soon.

Much like Jimenez and Lopez, Tyler Treadway, a second-year at CSULB, said he chooses to live with roommates for financial reasons.

“It makes it easier for me to save money, and I have a car to commute to campus and back,” Treadway said.

Treadway and his two friends, also CSULB students, live in the Alvista Apartments on Ximeno Avenue. They all pitch in to pay the $2,200 rent.

He said privacy is not hard to get since his roommates are mostly on campus or at work. The main issue for him is having to share a bathroom, but overall Treadway enjoys living with his friends.

Another student taking advantage of the cost-effectiveness of sharing a room is Shea Belford, a first-year at CSULB who transferred from Poway, San Diego.

Belford shares a one-bedroom apartment on Termino Avenue with his girlfriend, where they pay $1,400 for rent.

They both share responsibilities and manage to bear with the cons of living in a small apartment, like sharing one bathroom and a desk to do school work. 

Belford said he enjoys living with his girlfriend because it strengthens their bond. 

“I choose to live in an apartment besides a dorm because the cost of living in a dorm is too much, and living with my girlfriend is better,” Belford said. 

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