26/08/2016

'More Than Soundbites' Needed To Resolve Student Housing Crisis - SF

The government has been urged to act to resolve the accommodation crisis facing thousands of students.

Making the call, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education and Skills, Teachta Carol Nolan, said the situation needed "more than soundbites" from the government.

Teachta Nolan said: "A report compiled by the Higher Education Authority in 2015 estimates that there is an unmet demand of about 25,000 student bed spaces, which has a significant impact on the private rental sector.

"The latest Daft research highlights the very real difficulties facing students as the average rent under the rent-a- room scheme has risen in all urban centres, the average nationwide rent is at an all-time high of €1,037 per month and there are 20% fewer properties available to rent than this time last year.

"A recent survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions shows that 67% of students are extremely worried about sourcing student accommodation, while USI research shows that 58% of students have been forced to skip meals while 25.4% have sought help from the Students’ Union, St Vincent de Paul or food banks in order to meet the costs associated with college, including increased rents. 

"There have been a number of proposals put forward to address the student accommodation crisis, including making funding available to third level institutions through the Housing Finance Agency or the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund in order to build student accommodation. 

"Meanwhile, this government has provided little more than soundbites and a weak promise to develop a strategy in 2017 to deal with the issue. 

"Students cannot afford to wait another year for this government to even start to think about addressing the shortfall of student accommodation and urgent action is needed now to prevent this crisis from escalating even further in future years."

(MH/CD)

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