The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Emergency housing: shelter for the traumatized

Do you have rats, roaches or ants in your dorms? Being stalked by an ex or dealing with a crazy roommate? If you are, then you are probably headed to emergency housing.

CSUN offers a program to move students to another dorm if these issues come up.

Emergency housing is a temporary solution to move students to another dorm for a couple of days until a new room is available for them.

“Emergency housing is used more during the beginning of the year,” said L. Mike O’Neal, Community Coordinator for Learning and Assessment in student housing.Students usually only stay in emergency housing one or two nights.”

The emergency housing dorms are smaller than the normal dorms. They are set up like a studio apartment as opposed to the regular two-bedroom apartments that CSUN offers.

It is only one room, with bunk beds in the living room, very close to the kitchen. The bathroom is down the hall, but it’s also smaller than the normal dorm.

There were no rooms available to be viewed at this time. Even though it’s early in the semester the emergency rooms are already occupied.

The dorm has enough space to sleep nine people. The regular dorm has only four students per apartment.

Michelle Lapp, senior deaf studies major, stayed in emergency housing for three and a half weeks while student housing looked for a new dorm for her.

“The people that lived below us were partying way too much,” said Lapp. “We complained to our resident adviser about the noise but nothing was done.

“One night around 4 a.m. they were having a party and my friend and I went downstairs to tell them to quiet down. They threw a rock through our window.”

Lapp and her roommate didn’t want to stay in that room anymore because she said they didn’t feel safe. They called the campus police and had a report filed but they still had to wait until the next day before they could move out of their dorm.

“We were given the run around at first, but we ended up moving in to emergency housing,” said Lapp. “I had no idea that emergency housing was available.”

Lapp and her roommate moved into building six. The dorm was smaller than the two-bedroom dorm that she was used to, and according to Lapp, it had a funny smell.

“The first emergency housing room we were sent to had ants, so we had to move to another room,” said Lapp.

After two weeks in another room Lapp and her friend were placed in a permanent dorm room. They were told that they would only be in emergency housing for a few days.

Student Housing told Lapp that the reason why she and her friend had to stay in emergency housing for so long was because there were no rooms available for them at the time.

“We weren’t going to pay for staying in the emergency housing room for almost a month,” said Lapp. “We fought for a discount since we were inconvenienced.”

After seven months of fighting for a discount, Lapp and her friend received $200 off of the dorm for that one month.

Lapp does not live at the dorms anymore.

According to O’Neal, emergency housing is not intended for students to dorm there permanently.

There could be several reasons why students would have to go to emergency housing.

“Fires are common in the dorms because students usually don’t have enough experience with cooking,” said O’Neal. “The sprinkler system goes off and everything gets wet.”

Students stay in the emergency housing while their dorm room is cleaned. There have also been incidents where an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend is stalking a student in the dorms and they are placed in emergency housing until a new dorm can be found for them.

Fights break out between students and they will have to stay in emergency housing until a new dorm is made available.

Senior journalism major Sheena Gray was forced into emergency housing a few semesters ago because of a roach infestation in her dorm room.

“The nest was in the wall next to my bed,” said Gray. “At night I felt the roaches crawling all over.”

Gray talked to her resident adviser to fix the problem, but they just moved her to emergency housing.

“I wasn’t going to go back to my dorm with the huge roaches,” said Gray.

Gray stayed in emergency housing the entire spring semester, in building 13.

Her room was sprayed a few times, but the roach problem just increased. The roaches were located in building three.

Gray no longer lives in the dorms.

The resident advisers cannot determine who can go to emergency housing, but if students are having issues with roommates or neighbors then they can talk to their RA.

O’Neal said that just because people are having problems with roommates and they are sent to emergency housing it doesn’t mean they will be alone in the dorms.

The community coordinators, like O’Neal, are the only people who can move students or determine if they are eligible for emergency housing.

If students just don’t like their roommates, chances are they will not receive a new dorm.

Amy Palos, junior sociology major, lived in the dorms a couple of years ago and her roommates didn’t get along.

“I think college was a culture shock for the girls,” Palos said. “One girl was from San Diego and the other girl was from Northern California.”

Palos said that her roommates spoke to the RA, who sent them to be counseled so they could work out their differences. The girls resolved their issues.

“It’s good to go through these types of situations because there is so much diversity in this world,” said Palos.

Palos no longer lives in the dorms.

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