Helping Students One House At A Time: Meet Kelsey Johnston

Here at Cape Breton University, success is our number one priority and we believe that having comfortable, safe and secure housing plays a vital role in the student experience. As CBU continues to do its part in addressing the housing crisis in the community, we are lucky to have employees who are dedicated to helping students secure legitimate accommodations, like Kelsey Johnston. 

Kelsey Johnston is CBU’s Off-Campus Housing Coordinator and has been part of the CBU family since 2005. Originally from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Kelsey was a student-athlete at CBU from 2005-2010, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 2010. Kelsey returned to CBU as an employee in 2018, and says her previous experiences at CBU were big factors in her decision to return. 

As part of the Housing and Ancillary Services team, Kelsey is responsible for developing and managing an off-campus housing directory for students, which includes advertising legitimate rentals on CBU’s Off-Campus Living website on behalf of local property owners. Kelsey strongly encourages students traveling from outside of Nova Scotia and Canada to use this website as it is a trusted source and is regularly updated as listings become available. 

Kelsey also encourages the use of the Off-Campus Living website to ensure students are not falling victim to scams and fraudsters. “Sometimes, if something is too good to be true, it probably is,” advises Kelsey. “A way to seek out a scam is to search for the landlord’s name, email address, phone number or the address of the accommodation. Sometimes, the same housing opportunities are posted in various university/college communities across North America. If you know another student who is currently in the area, request their assistance by going to meet the landlord and/or view the property on your behalf.” 

By using the Off-Campus Living website, students are also able to use the filter option to narrow down their search and get better results. “After using the filter option, Google Maps is helpful in determining proximity to campus, grocery stories, specific employment opportunities and other amenities,” says Kelsey. “There are also Quick Links on the website that are helpful for community aspects, including the CBRM Transit schedule, what day your garbage collection is and so much more.” 

When asked what other things students should keep in mind during their search for accommodations, Kelsey recommends not just looking for accommodations in Sydney. “While many CBU students live in the Sydney area, I strongly encourage students to look for accommodations in other nearby communities as well,” says Kelsey. “Despite a bit of extra time they may have to spend on the bus, broadening one’s horizons may provide more opportunities to find suitable accommodations.” 

Assisting current and future students in their search to secure legitimate housing is a big responsibility and we are so lucky to have Kelsey as part of the team. CBU continues to advocate for affordable housing solutions within the community and reminds students to use caution and make sure to review their rights as a tenant in Nova Scotia by visiting the Nova Scotia Residential Tenancies Act

To learn more about accommodations at CBU, please visit