The Chronicle’s View: Don’t Wait to Find Olympic Shelter

Students will begin moving out of the dorms Dec. 7 in anticipation of the Olympic athletes moving in. That’s right, many unfortunate students will spend the reading day before Finals Week packing stuff into boxes and shipping it all out.

Trouble is, some of these students aren’t sure yet where they’re headed after they pack.

Rooms are still available in the old dorms. And contrary to popular belief, the old dorms are habitable, as evidenced by the fact that many Chrony employees have lived in one of the three buildings at some point, and we lived to tell the tale. Granted, compared with the new Heritage Commons, they aren’t exactly ideal.

But living with mediocre heaters, and without an impressive, on-site cafeteria, among other inconveniences, is infinitely better than living in the Olympic homeless tents in downtown Salt Lake City, which is where some students may end up if they don’t sign on for the old dorms, or something else, soon.

Some students who grew up in the area can simply move in with family members for the duration of Spring Semester. But others don’t have the option. Last-minute housing will be next to impossible to find during the Olympics, and it will be increasingly expensive.

Plus, some local charity groups that give support to people without homes are worried that the problem will escalate nearer the beginning of the Olympics. Thousands upon thousands of people plan to move in to SLC during the Games. Some groups fear that landlords will kick locals out in favor of Olympic patrons with money.

Any tenants who are evicted (which a landlord can do without cause, with only a few days’ notice) will have incredible difficulty finding housing. Students could be living on the streets.

Before the dorms fill up, students should figure out where they’re going to live the next few months?while they still have a choice. The Office of Residential Living is getting creative with ideas of where to put people in case there’s a huge influx of students at the last minute. But there’s only so much it can do. At some point, students may be turned away.