Where to stash 15 undergrads for 6 weeks? Camping is not an option.
May 5, 2010 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Trying to locate housing for a group of 12-15 students working on a project in Evanston, Illinois between Aug 1st-Sept 15th. Need to think of some creative alternatives and I'm coming up short on creativity.

The University that we are based out of is tight on summer dorm housing because of the enormous need. At minimum, I'd love to find a local house to rent for a month (Aug 1 - Aug 31) and the students can move into their campus housing for those last two weeks of the project. It would be ideal if they could all stay in the same location or very close.

VRBO has come up empty...all of the available rentals through that are downtown or too far for students to get to campus everyday. These types of logistics are not something that I have had to handle before. Any ideas? Would you just start calling local apartment companies? Has anyone ever had to find housing in a similar situation where they solved the problem creatively? Do fraternities ever rent out their houses for the summer? (I imagine not, since frats let tenants keep all of their belongings in the house over the summer, yes?)
posted by jeanmari to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
I didn't realize that these were college aged until I looked at the title. Others might want to know.
posted by k8t at 8:48 AM on May 5, 2010

A couple of years ago a local university overbooked their fall semester and when they had more students than dorm rooms, contacted a local hotel. They worked a deal for group rates for the semester and the hotel shuttle ran from the campus to the hotel at certain designated times.
posted by alynnk at 9:10 AM on May 5, 2010

Best answer: I stayed in frats during summers at college. I wouldn't discount that as a possibility. If they rent out the house, they have some way of keeping members' belongings safe.

Stupid question, because I'll bet you've alrady tried this, but have you asked the university housing department for ideas? I would imagine they would have some lists of possibilities.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:34 AM on May 5, 2010

Hi. I go to Northwestern. Yes, the frats rent out housing, but note that your kids would be living with other NU students unless you worked out something with the frat. Northwestern doesn't rent out its dorms over the summer as far as I know. Look on Chicago craigslist for Evanston, too.

Memail me with more details. Are you from Northwestern, or from Loyola/DePaul/another Chicago campus? I'm a little confused, but if you're not based at NU I can keep an eye out for options around campus.
posted by elisabethjw at 9:44 AM on May 5, 2010

Is it a volunteer project? Sometimes alumni associations (I also am unclear on whether they're NU students or another Chicago school or from out of the area) will help arrange to put students up with local alumni -- two here, two there, etc.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:30 AM on May 5, 2010

You haven't mentioned a budget, which may be helpful.

You may want to take a look at long term stay hotels. They typically have decent prices.
posted by ASM at 12:06 PM on May 5, 2010

Response by poster: Some clarifications...these are undergraduate and graduate students. They are working on volunteer projects related to design for social impact for a group that uses NU as an incubator, but is not part of NU's academic offerings. I have contacted university housing, there is nothing officially available. Many other programs are in the same boat that we are, often offering stipends to students and requiring them to make their own arrangements.

Most students will not have their own transportation and will be required to be on campus everyday. Therefore, locating them far away from campus or public transportation isn't an option for us. The only extended stay hotel in this area is The Homestead and their rates are WAY high.

The confusion on the budget is this...we don't know what is available, so we don't know what specific costs would be. However, to apply for a grant or funding, we have to give them specifics on a plan of action and what it would cost. We could say, "Local hotels can offer a double room for $125 a night." Over six weeks, that cost is astronomical and many potential donors would balk at the figure. So I'm trying to check out options that would provide a spectrum of choices for us.

I'm going to keep checking Craigslist and trying to find that perfect summer sublet! (I even wondered if I could get away with a "Real World" caravan of RV campers parked on campus, but, no, I don't think that would fly...)
posted by jeanmari at 5:44 PM on May 5, 2010

Contact a local real estate agent. Odds are there are foreclosures in town, and the owning banks would likely rather have someone living there keeping up the place than having it sit vacant.

You also try calling the housing department back and asking if there are any management companies they work with. Then call those companies yourself. Just because there aren't "official" options available doesn't necessarily mean there's nothing available at all.

What about calling other schools in the area, like Loyola or even DePaul?

You might have to start looking on the north side of Chicago, rather then sticking to Evanston. If you stick close to the the right El line, the transportation shouldn't be much of an issue.

Good luck.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:39 PM on May 5, 2010

There's a hostel near public transportation [Chicago International Hostel]- assuming you're working at northwestern, It'd be about half an hour on the train. Honestly, it really isn't that long of a commute, chicago-wise. The rates are around $25 a night. Here's the number, to get info on group rates (773) 262-1011.
posted by shesaysgo at 7:49 PM on May 5, 2010

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