Thursday, March 30, 2023

Finding housing for college students can be tough, especially if you’re Jewish. There’s the matter of finding shomer Shabbat roommates, apartments near kosher restaurants or shuls, and general accessibility. Often, due to the sheer lack of options, Jewish students have to resign themselves to integrating into their college’s housing, where they may be paired with non-Jewish roommates.

This is an issue that KO Management is working to remedy. Helmed by Brock Orion, the company is gearing up to bring more Jewish housing options to colleges across the country. Its newest venture will be for Binghamton University in New York, of which Orion is actually an alumnus. The housing will offer affordable pricing, a close proximity to the Chabad being built downtown, and a number of additional amenities.

“I really empathize with these kids trying to find housing,” Orion shared with The Jewish Link. “When I was an undergrad, there weren’t many options for Jewish students, and so people would have to make that tough decision to live on campus and roll the dice in a situation where they may not be paired with Jewish roommates. That’s part of the reason why I was so inspired to pursue this venture.”

After graduating from Binghamton, Orion became a leader in real estate markets across the country. With KO Management he has purchased and flipped over 600 apartments, becoming friendly with local landlords all the while. His company believes in promoting housing of only the highest quality.

“Above all else, the thing I hope to provide is a sense of security,” Orion continued. “For the Binghamton project, my goal is that the building will offer a sense of Jewish community in conjunction with the nearby Chabad. It will be a building where Judaism is celebrated and all will be proud to call it their home.”

While the exact details of the Binghamton project are still being worked out, Orion said it will likely be on Court Street. Some of the amenities this building will offer include rooms with kosher kitchens, common areas, and extra spaces where families can stay. All of the rooms will also have mezuzahs.

“The Jewish population in Binghamton has grown exponentially in recent years,” Orion continued. “There are about 1,000 Jewish students now, and it’s only going to grow in the coming years. We want to make sure these kids have safe places to stay that also offer walking distance to the college’s facilities. A social life is a big part of the college experience, and so we want this building to provide a level of accessibility to the rest of the campus.”

When it comes to what incoming students can expect in Binghamton, Orion describes the community as very suburban, but also offering fun experiences and a bustling nightlife.

“Binghamton is a very calm and peaceful area,” Orion continued. “It’s the sort of town you want to spend time in. When I was an undergrad, I had friends who would walk miles to get downtown to meet other kids or study. This new building will let the students bypass that. It’s another great thing about it.”

While KO Management is focused now on its Binghamton project, Orion reported that they are hoping to bring similar Jewish housing to additional colleges across the country. These buildings will serve as a sort of home base for Jewish students as they maneuver through their college experiences.

“College can be tough, so having a sense of community can really help,” Orion added. “For Jews, that means a place where you can feel welcomed and embraced, and it is KO Management’s goal to do just that. We’re very excited about the plans we’re cooking up, and look forward to sharing updates in the future.”

Updates on KO Management projects can be found on their website, komanage.com. For questions, email Ezra Hermann at [email protected]

By Jewish Link Staff

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