Christian Center Recruits Hosts For International Students
The Christian Center is recruiting help from Park City residents to host International Students who will come to the town to work for the ski season. The meeting is Tuesday November 6th from 6:00 to 7:00 pm at the Christian Center.
Pete Stoughton, Director of Programs with the Christian Center explains the purpose of the meeting.
“Introduce families to this concept of bringing international students into their homes.” Stoughton explained, “It’s a great opportunity a lot of our kids here in the town participate in that duel immersion program. It’s also a nice way to make an extra income and also be a host housing family for someone who will be experiencing Park City for the first time.”
Interested host should have a room for the student, the Christian Center also hopes that they will integrate students into the home environment. Transportation is up to the students, so being relatively close to public transit is also preferable. The Christian Center started helping international students 18 years ago.
“We have been kind of a hub for a lot of the international workers and the seasonal workers.” Stoughton said, “They’ve shown up just on our doorstep over the past 18 years just asking for help. A lot of times housing is just one of the biggest ones. We have hosted an event called Roommate Roundup. We really wanted to be a little more proactive in housing, so landlords and other tenants will come to us and say, ‘hey, we have a connection here’. We do try to get those people to connect via the other avenues but it’s also nice to have that safe venue through Roommate Roundup. Then the other thing we saw was not every kid that came to Park City wanted to be with 14 others in one home. So we wanted to find a venue and an outlet for that.”
Around 1,300 International students are expected this year. The students will come work at the local resorts and hotels during the ski season. Stoughton says the majority of students will come December through March. But some groups come just from November to December or January to April. So there is flexibility for potential hosts.
Stoughton says that the Christian Center takes on the housing issue because of their mission but they also are encouraging businesses and the city to increase involvement in international student housing.
“This is something we don’t get any funding for.” Stoughton continued, “We don’t have any grants available its just something that we’ve absorbed because we care, and it has come up as a need. The city is becoming involved, and then the employers that is definitely a burden on their shoulders. They’re looking at larger ways to house more students. They’re also stepping into this program and seeing how they can incentivize these families, whether it’s passes or dinners and so forth. So, they are taking a responsibility it’s just not where it needs to be. We have spoken at council meetings and we do provide our suggestions but advocacy is not necessarily where we want to spend a lot of our time but we understand that its critical.”
Stoughton also said that nightly rentals have impacted the housing issue.
“Airbnb market has really impacted the housing availability.” Stoughton explained, “I’ve seen rates go from $500 a room to now $800 a room. The availability of those rooms has significantly decreased while I’ve seen Airbnb rentals have increased quite a bit. That is actually one of the venues that I do encourage the kids to—not exactly knock on the door but—contact Airbnb and say ‘hey, I can commit to you these time periods and discount your rates’. It’s definitely made an impact and I hate to say that.”