Since the start of term, the Calgary Journal has been asking students across the city how the housing crisis is affecting them. So far we’ve had nearly 150 responses to our survey and our reporters have interviewed many more, along with experts and student leaders.

We’ve heard stories of anxiety, desperation and a worry that precarious, overpriced housing is now the norm for young adults in the city. As our feature story explains, Calgary’s 68,500 students are being hit with a one-two punch of record-high tuition fees and lack of places to sta. The situation is particularly dire for international students, who have been inaccurately cast as the cause of this housing shortage, when they are often victims of substandard dwellings and poor communication from government.

Christina Frangou

To help tell these stories, we have teamed-up with Christina Frangou, our first journalist in residence. Frangou, an award-winning local freelance writer, is producing the feature article for the series. She has also been visiting students in MRU’s senior advanced reporting class to discuss her reporting and writing, as well as share resources and plan the work.

“”It’s been a privilege to work with students in advanced reporting over the last few months,” Frangou said. “From the outset, my student colleagues on this project expressed deep distress over the state of student housing—what it means now for them and in the future. We set out to capture that anguish, and report on how we got here.”

Our series, which begins next week, will follow a modified version of the Action-Journey model, pioneered by Anita Li and her team at the Green Line in Toronto. The intent is produce a work of community-engaged journalism that informs and empowers

  • Part I
    An explainer story that helps readers understand the issue and why they should pay attention. Look for this short story on your phone and social media.
  • Part II
    Christina Frangou’s in-depth feature article that tells human stories and provides important context and background
  • Part III
    An public event that brings together the community and stakeholders to discuss the issue and potential solutions. Our public event is happening Nov. 27 at Pizza Bob’s. Come for the pizza, stay for the housing discussion!
  • Part IV
    A round-up of solutions from the community and experts we’ve learned from
Photo: Carl Rodrigo

How we’re listening

It’s not too late to take our survey on student housing. If you would like to speak with one of our reporters, please leave us your contact information and we will be in touch.

Our public event on Nov. 27 will also feature listening stations, an expert panel, and chances for you to present your ideas and learn more about the issue.

RSVP here for our FREE housing forum and pizza party

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Archie McLean is a journalism professor at Mount Royal University.