PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence City Council committee is mulling whether to ban more than three college students from living together under one roof.

The proposed ban was introduced by Councilwoman Helen Anthony, who believes college students are “creating pressure on current housing stock” in the capital city.

“We need to do what we can to preserve housing for our residents and to maintain our neighborhoods,” Anthony said. “Despite the city’s efforts to hold developers accountable through fines, inspections, and other restrictions, we continue to see noise and public safety matters connected to overcrowded student rental properties throughout our city.”

Anthony admitted that she knew her proposal would “spark conversation about a new path forward,” and hopes it will at least bring the city’s housing crisis to the forefront.

The ordinance would impact roughly 29,000 residences in the capital city. If approved, it would go into effect in May 2023.

Providence City Council President John Igliozzi believes Anthony’s proposal “targets financially strapped college students and tries to solve a minor problem with an overreaching response.”

“It’s like settling a verbal argument with a nuclear bomb,” he said. “Some nuisance homes near college campuses are a problem, but the ordinance would be applied across the city to thousands of homes and apartments with no issues.”

Providence College and Brown University students attended Wednesday night’s Committee on Ordinances meeting in droves to testify against Anthony’s proposal.

Justice Avant, a junior at Providence College, tells 12 News she just secured housing for next year with eight other roommates.

Avant said she’s worried what will happen if the ordinance passes.

“I’m just thinking about how many seniors are going to be forced to live on campus, or further from campus,” she said.

Gabe Long, who’s not a student but lives in the capital city, also testified against the proposal, arguing that it will only make things worse.

“You’re forcing students to spread out and take up more units,” Long said. “It will have a bigger impact on our city, not a smaller one. That’s going to drive up rents at a time when we’re already experiencing an absolutely brutal homelessness and housing insecurity crisis.”

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said he’s tracking Anthony’s ordinance closely and “will evaluate it on how well it addresses the larger issue of housing affordability.”

“Providence is experiencing a housing affordability crisis unlike anything we’ve seen in our history,” Elorza said. “There are many causes of the crisis, but one of them is the number of apartments being taken off the broader market and dedicated exclusively to students. If we do not take action, everyone other than the well-off will eventually be pushed out and the character of our city will change.”