IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa has launched a new program that offers temporary housing for students who have lease gaps.

The university's lease-gap program provides students with rooms at a rate of $35 per night from July 20 to Aug. 4, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported. Forty students are currently living at Burge Hall through the program. The spots filled up with a small waiting list, said Von Stange, senior director of University Housing and Dining.

Charles Tassell of the National Real Estate Investors Association said Iowa City's gaps between leases ending this month and beginning Aug. 1 is common in college towns nationwide. Landlords use the time for maintenance repairs and to clean.

"I've heard some situations where (students) have had to sleep in their car," said student Gustave Stewart. He added that "you're really put in an uncomfortable situation" when a lease ends before the next one starts.

Members of student government proposed the idea for temporary housing to the University Housing and Dining and Student Life in November. It's based on a program that launched at Iowa State University last year.

"We thought this would be a great opportunity — and a necessary thing to do at the University of Iowa," said Stewart, who serves as city liaison for the UI student government.

Stange said the university put the plan into motion after surveys showed a need for such housing.

"It's really helping the need that a lot of students were feeling because of that lease-gap period," said Stewart. "Providing housing at an affordable rate is always a good thing.

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/