Can Rexburg afford married students?

Married students at BYU-Idaho are struggling to find housing in Rexburg and are having to look for housing outside of the city.

Cami Kubie, manager of Central Park Apartments said she has seen an increase of married couples looking for housing recently.

“We definitely always have a wait list and we had quite a few people come in that have not been able to find housing in the area,” Kubie said.

There were about 120 more married couples in the Spring 2016 Semester compared to the Spring 2015 Semester. Out of 13,742 total students, 3,478 were married according to byui.edu.

Shannon Pofelski, a junior studying English, said it was very difficult to find housing this semester and she and her husband were worried they would not be able to find somewhere to live.

“It was very difficult to find a place to stay this semester,” Pofelski said. “We lived out of the area until we found our apartment. We started casually looking around online at complexes and adding our name to waiting lists back in February and March of this year. We started calling around places we saw on Craigslist in May, only to find that the availability had already been filled. We started to panic at this point.”

Jerry Merrill, Mayor of Rexburg, said in a city council meeting he had received a letter from a distressed father who was thinking about moving outside of Rexburg because they were having such a difficult time finding housing for his family since there is no housing available here.

“The family is having to move to Jefferson County or St. Anthony because of lower priced housing that is over there,” Merrill said.

NATHAN FLEMING | Scroll Photography The Cedars at Hemming Village Apartments is a community complex that is being built to provide more housing for married students and for single students.
NATHAN FLEMING | Scroll Photography
The Cedars at Hemming Village Apartments is a community complex that is being built to provide more housing for married students and for single students.

Merrill said that the city is working to find places that they can build more apartment complexes in.

“We are working with developers to identify plots of land within the city that make the best sense to build apartment complexes on,” Merrill said. “Since the conversion of Ricks College to BYU-I, the land prices here in Rexburg have increased substantially, and that has made it a bit more difficult to build a project with enough return on investment for investors to be interested.”

Pofelski said she and her husband have considered living outside of Rexburg because they had not been able to find housing in the area.

“We definitely considered places like Teton, St. Anthony, Rigby and even Idaho Falls,” Pofelski said. “We considered taking a loan out to buy a place that was not for rent because we were that desperate for a place to live.”

Ken Ockler, manager of University Village apartments, said he has had many couples come in looking for housing.

“I think that the main problem that I have heard from people coming in is that there is a big lack of married housing that is approved housing or that are in the area,” Ockler said.

There are about 60 married housing complexes around Rexburg, according to BYU-I Housing and Student Living Office.

Pofelski said it has been very frustrating and stressful to find an apartment this semester.

“We didn’t find a place until about two weeks before our wedding which was three weeks before the semester started,” Pofelski said. “It just added extra stress. We don’t love the place we live right now but we don’t have any other choice but to stay because there is no other availability.”

Michael Juchau, a BYU-I alumnus who still resides in Rexburg, said that one solution that he thinks would help solve the housing problem would be to use land for parking lots and convert it to apartment complexes.

Pofelski said that she thinks that the most obvious solution is to build more apartments for married housing.

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