New downtown Winnipeg apartment block brings more affordable housing for students

By: Autumn Fehr

The life of a student is challenging. Living costs make things more difficult for those living independently or with roommates, and for international students, being away from home adds to the stress.

“I’ve never lived without my family… Living here by myself, it’s quite challenging every day,” said Gurleen Kaur Deol, an International IT Operations student at Red River College Polytechnic.

Kaur Deol moved to Winnipeg from India in December of 2022. She shares the cost of rent with three other people in a two-bedroom apartment. She said they couldn’t afford it without splitting the cost between them.

A rendering of the building at 380 Young Street in Winnipeg, located within walking distance to the University of Winnipeg. (CNW Group/Government of Canada)

For International students like Kaur Deol, an affordable housing arrangement is critical for her to continue her studies in Canada.
“The toughest part is that we have to pay approximately four times more fees than normal students,” said Kaur Deol.

Considering the cost of rent and the rising costs due to inflation, it can be financially challenging, she said.

A survey conducted by Québec non-profit Unité de travail pour l’implantation de logement étudiant (UTILE), which specializes in affordable student housing, found that in Canada in 2021, the median student rent was $1,250. On Jan. 11, 2023, Manitoba announced they would spend over $17.4 million to build 69 new and affordable apartment units in Winnipeg, with over 40 per cent of the units at highly discounted rates.

The seven-storey apartment building located at 380 Young St., is right by the University of Winnipeg and will be owned and operated by the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

The new apartment block focuses on serving Indigenous students, young families, and older adults.

To maximize energy efficiency, the apartment building is participating in Efficiency Manitoba’s New Buildings Program. Under the program, they will provide the Opaskwayak Cree Nation with approximately $105,000 in incentives to reduce the cost of energy-saving elements within the new build. 

“The energy model for this new build indicates that its energy performance will be approximately 16 per cent better than what is required by the Manitoba Energy Code for Buildings. This is a noteworthy achievement, and we’re very excited to present them with Energy Efficient Certification from Efficiency Manitoba upon completion of the project,” said Colleen Kuruluk, chief executive officer of Efficiency Manitoba, in an email.