Off-campus housing is not a popular option at Claremont. Housing is assured for all four years, and few people pass up the chance to live in the middle of everything. For those who do choose to live off campus, there is little help. Sometimes names of good apartment complexes are handed down from class to class, but there is no such thing as a "student area" off campus—only a few random apartments scattered here and there.
Most of the areas around campus are safe to live in, and affordable housing can be found just a few minutes from school. Living in an apartment off of the meal plan is almost surely a savings if you don't factor in car-related costs that are required for the drive to school. It's not that students can't live off campus; it's just simply that they don't. There are one or two groups of friends who move out every year, but they become very separated from all of the activities that go on at school.
The dorms are comfortable, and the food is good, so there is no desperate need to get out, and come senior year, most students have the option of moving out to the Student Apartment Complex, which provides all the joys of living off campus while still staying within the Claremont McKenna bubble.