Editorial: Improve housing resources for students with disabilities

Carleton University has a reputation for being a world leader in accessibility on campus, but the new funding campaign for off-campus accessible housing being piloted by the Carleton University Students’ Association is a long overdue effort to help students with disabilities find off-campus housing.

Tuition and residence fees are already steep for students, and off-campus housing is a cheaper alternative. But students with disabilities are often excluded from this option, as they face particular challenges in looking for off-campus housing, as accessible housing is not common, in particular, housing within a reasonable distance of campus.

While this collaborative funding initiative is a good first step towards alleviating this issue, the initiative to eliminate barriers towards off-campus housing shouldn’t piloted by a student-run crowdfunding campaign.

Crowdfunding campaigns can be definitely effective at raising money and awareness about the housing and tuition issues faced by students with disabilities, as seen from the story of Ben Williamson. Williamson, a formerly homeless student with a disability, had to turn to crowdfunding earlier this year to cover the costs of his schooling. But, taking care of an entire demographic of the student population calls for greater efforts.

The university must be at the forefront for providing resources to subsidized, accessible off-campus housing and for lobbying to eliminate barriers to learning for those with disabilities who choose to pay high fees to attend classes at Carleton.