MyBGSU aids in search for housing

Chuck Soder and Chuck Soder

I thought I’d be homeless this summer.

Originally, I was to pay summer rent on a year-long lease for someone set to live with my current roommates during the ’03-’04 school year. That fell through. With only a month left on my lease, I figured I would be spending my summer nights in the stick huts by Anderson Arena.

In despair, I placed a cry for help on MyBGSU, which is part of the University Web site. Within a week, six online knights in shining armor came to my rescue.

All I had to do was place a note on the site’s section called “Need a room or a roommate?” Within a week, I was receiving e-mails and phone calls from folks dying for my rent money. First I had nowhere to live — now I had too many options.

Turning away so many potential roommates was hard, but it was worth finding decent summer housing on short notice. MyBGSU worked quite well, aside from the fact that most students who posted were females searching for female roommates. But MyBGSU isn’t the only oasis for students on the edge of homelessness.

Off-Campus Student Services serves as a liaison between those with housing and those who want it, according to Georgia Folkins, coordinator of the program.

Folkins said students looking for summer housing so late in the year are outnumbered by those wanting to rent out their places for the season.

“Most people are trying desperately to lease their apartments,” Folkins said. ” They’re leaving because they want to go home for the summer.”

The situation for students needing housing is particularly good right now, with the presence of new homes and apartments from Sterling University Enclave and MECCA Management, among others.

“There’s a lot of housing out there,” she said.

The deal is better for last- minute shelter-shoppers. Though selection may be better in fall, prices are often lower now, Folkins said. This matched my experience — my renters sweetened the deal by cutting my monthly rate by $20.

“You have some people saying ‘I’ll pay the first $100 and up to half the rent,'” she said. “Anything to try to get a little money out of their summer [lease].”

Off-Campus Student Services helps students pair up with realtors and those looking for subleasers. Their web site has links to eight local rental agencies. The program also provides free contact information in the Hazel H. Smith Lounge on the second floor of the Student Union.

While Off-Campus Student Services is willing to help, the search is still a student’s responsibility, Folkins said. “I can’t go out and find housing for them.”