Masters students in the City Planning program at the University of Manitoba are nearing the end of a four-month research project focused on the Fort Richmond and University Heights neighborhoods.

One particular issue that students are looking to solve is the lack of affordable housing surrounding the U of M, which has led to the emergence of illegal rooming houses.

An illegal rooming house is classified as land zoned for a single family dwelling that has been converted to house multiple students renting on a room-by-room basis.

“These houses are unsafe for students,” said Janice Lukes, councilor for South Winnipeg – St.Norbert.

“When you have eight to ten students living in a house, each in a room with hot plates, it presents an unsafe condition.”

Lukes said area residents who neighbour rooming houses have also complained about the lack of upkeep on those properties, such as uncut lawns, snowy driveways not being shoveled, and mail being ignored.

“Tenants are going to school, they are doing their thing, but landlords aren’t taking care of their properties,” Lukes said.

Suggestions from students include government mandated affordable housing, improved transportation, construction of secondary suits and an improved home stay program.

The finalized study will be presented to Lukes next week.