Homeless students

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Reagan High | Staff Writer



BYU contracted apartment complexes, which also house many UVU students, are selling contracts without asking the current contract owners if they would like to renew or not. This leads to students who are abruptly asked to move out, usually right around finals week. This lack of communication between apartment manager and renter creates what many in Provo/Orem know as “homeless week.”

Matthew Chambers, UVU’s program director for housing and residence life, said “the main issue is that BYU and UVU’s academic calendars aren’t synced.”

Living in BYU contracted housing, which is almost impossible to avoid in this area, means that the contract or lease is catered to the scheduling of BYU’s academic calendar. The conflicting schedules are mostly due to the spring break that UVU takes while BYU students are still in school.

For 2015, UVU’s spring semester finals will be held from April 27 to April 30, and its convocation will be held on May 1. BYU’s convocation will be held on April 24, one week before UVU’s. Because housing revolves around the BYU schedule, contracts are sold to meet the beginning and end of BYU semesters. So as BYU students are moving in to meet a new semester of school, UVU students are trying to finish finals while figuring out where to sleep at night.

It seems that this wouldn’t be an issue if these housing complexes would just notify residents adequately about how their contracts work and when they should try to renew, but apparently they’re not doing that. “Homeless week” is a real issue that affects many of UVU’s students. Chambers said that he has had to frequently “email housing complexes and ask them to let students extend their contract period.”

There is hope though to ending the anxiety of “homeless week.” Phil Varney, UVUSA chief justice (and candidate in UVUSA election), , has been working independently to fix this issue. Varney thinks this issue has two sides, one being academic, and the other economic. The academic side has to do with the different calendars of BYU and UVU, but UVU students are not going to give up their spring break, and BYU is not going to allow one for their students. So tackling the economic side is what Varney thinks of as the winning solution.

The economic side of this issue involves the property management company Redstone Residential. According to the Redstone Residential website they “provide[s] student housing management services at properties totaling approximately 6,600 student beds, serving both large and small Universities and Colleges.” Basically, they’re in charge of the majority of properties in Utah Valley. A few of the sites they manage are Wolverine Crossing, Alpine Village, Liberty Square, and The Village. Varney has been in communication with Redstone, trying to work out a solution to this issue; he would like to work on a system where all the housing under the Redstone Residential umbrella provided separate contracts for UVU and BYU residents.

Hopefully a resolution to “homeless week” is reached because the problem is only going to grow worse.

“The more it [UVU] continues to grow the more homeless students there will be,” said Varney.