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SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.


Contact: William Morris
phone: (415) 405-3606

SFSU students face better housing market this year

University adds new position to help students locate off-campus housing options; the opening of the Village at Centennial Square helps to alleviate tremendous demand for on-campus housing.

SAN FRANCISCO, August 23, 2001 - The overall housing situation has improved for San Francisco State University students, due in large part to the faltering dot com industry and slowing economy. In addition, the Village at Centennial Square, a 760 bed housing complex, is open and has alleviated the tremendous demand for on-campus living options.

"We are at a much better situation than last year," said Phillipe Cumia, assistant director of marketing and communications for Housing and Residential Services. "Because of the economic downturn, the housing market in the area is not quite so tight. We're receiving a lot more listings, and vacancies are staying up on the Web site longer. And with rental prices, if they are not dropping, they are at least capping, whereas last year they just kept going up."

Because SFSU, like all campuses in the CSU system, was planned primarily as a commuter campus, Housing Services takes an active role in helping students find off-campus housing. Its role was expanded last spring when Associated Students decided that they would no longer be able to continue offering a rental listing phone service.

Housing Services took over Associated Students client list, combined it with their own listings, added listings from the Office of International Programs and created a free centralized Web site where SFSU students can find off-campus housing options. The site ( has steadily maintained 100 to 150 current listings, and all listings are also printed out and posted on the housing board in Housing Services main office. Currently, there is no charge for landlords to submit and post listings.

In order to maintain the Web site and provide additional support for students looking for off-campus housing, Housing Services created a new position last spring, hiring SFSU graduate Senem Ozer as outreach coordinator for housing.

Ozer agrees that the market for housing seems better this year. "I've had landlords call and lower the price on their unit because it's been a week, and they haven't rented it out yet," she said.

She also said that students seem to be finding off-campus housing without much difficulty. While she stresses that her office isn't a placing agency, she does admit that she still needs to set realistic expectations for those students who aren't as familiar with the Bay Area rental market.

While conditions have improved, the University says that the battle isn't over. "We could still use more on-campus student housing," said Leroy Morishita, Associate Vice President of Budget Planning and Resource Management. "We continue to successfully attract students from areas outside of the Bay Area, particularly Southern California. These students are excited about the University and they love the City, but they need housing, and we just don't have enough. We're limited in what we can build bec ause of our size, but our future planning will include a look into other options."

When it comes to on-campus housing, both SF State's Housing and Residential Services, which manages two undergraduate dorms on campus, and EAH, the outside management company for the Village at Centennial Square, are reporting 100 percent occupancy for their units.

Mary Ward and Mary Park halls, the campus dorms reserved for freshmen and sophomores, provide a total of 820 beds. While their rooms were booked by last spring, attrition and improving off-campus alternatives have helped the staff at Housing and Residential Services move many of the students who were once on the wait list in to the dorms. With the better rental market, however, many students have chosen to find off-campus options. The wait list for the dorms now stands at 220 students-about half of what it was at the end of July.

According to EAH, the Village at Centennial Square has leased all of its units. There is currently a small wait list. The Village provides 760 beds and is limited to juniors, seniors and graduate students.

The current total of 1,582 available beds is the highest number on the San Francisco State campus since Verducci Hall was closed in 1989 because of damage from the Loma Prieta earthquake. The Residence Apartments Building, which had a capacity of 650 beds, was closed in May 2000 when the University discovered mold that resulted from faulty construction methods and materials.

The Village at Centennial Square is owned by the San Francisco State University Foundation, Inc. and managed by EAH's Property Management Department.

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Last modified August 27, 2001, by Office of Public Affairs