The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has condemned the lack of accommodation for students returning to campuses, saying some are dropping out as they cannot find somewhere to live.
The union said in a press statement today that one student union has reported receiving over 100 requests for help a day on its accommodation Facebook page.
The USI will this evening join a demonstration at the Dáil as part of the Raise the Roof campaign for affordable housing.
In a press statement, USI President Clare Austick said: “There are thousands of students across the Island who cannot find accommodation. With waiting lists of up to 200 plus people, students are exploring the option of staying in B&Bs, hostels and hotels. There just isn’t enough purpose-built student accommodation to meet the needs of students wanting to attend third level education in Ireland today.”
“A lot of the accommodation that was built as student accommodation is now being used to house people who are not students”, Austick said, “leaving students being pushed out of accommodation that was specifically built for them.”
“The situation is so bad that some students are even considering deferring the year or dropping out of college.”
“We talk about the barriers blocking access to education, but many students now physically cannot access education because they don’t have a place to stay. The housing crisis has continuously worsened over the last decade with the Government failing to relieve the stress and pressure of the housing situation on the next generation. It really isn’t good enough, we need to see urgent, effective and long-term action now.”
Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) will also attend the demonstration this evening. In a press statement, the union’s President Leah Keogh said: “TCDSU will be marching to the Dáil to join the National Homeless and Housing Coalition to welcome our Government back from their summer holidays and remind them that the threats of the housing crisis for students haven’t gone anywhere.”
“Year on year students scramble to source accommodation, only to settle for crumbs. With rents in Dublin averaging more than €1,000, the shortage and therefore, cost of student accommodation has become a very real barrier to higher education”, Keogh said.