University students plan conference strikes due to housing crisis
Students resort to youth hostels and couch surfing.
Third-tier students in Ireland are planning a nationwide course release later this year to highlight the current housing crisis.
Beth O’Reilly, president of the Students’ Union of Ireland, said there was a ‘long-standing problem’ with the supply of accommodation among university students and they are planning a walkout on October 13 to reflect that.
Noting that the situation has “worsened exponentially” since the Covid-19 exists, students are now “desperate” to obtain accommodation for this academic year.
“The government has made no commitment to really change the structure of how student accommodation works. They haven’t considered the idea of rent caps to make sure housing is affordable for students,” O’Reilly told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
“They haven’t considered introducing search legislation to ensure that students who are being searched receive tenancy protections and as a result our student union members have basically said, ‘we don’t take more that” and as a result, we have been mandated to organize a national walkout across all of our member organisations.
“This will be the first year that we will be fully back on campus for the full academic year. The situation with housing means that students are much more desperate for housing because they know they will not have the option of falling back on distance learning.
“We don’t have online classes this year, so students will have to be on campus and they’ll have to find accommodation or face commutes of up to five hours.”
O’Reilly added that many students are now considering other options like staying in hostels or couch surfing as a way to survive college.
“It is an absolute shame that it has come to this point but before Covid we saw stories like this of students not being able to afford accommodation and as a result they stayed in their car or couch surfed during the year or stayed in hostels,” O’Reilly said.
“But I really think it’s heading in that direction again this year given the amount of stories we’ve heard so early on, and the freshmen still haven’t gotten their college results yet, so they don’t know not where they’re going to go to college.
“They have about two weeks between getting their CAD results and starting university, so it’s a very difficult time to be a student and it’s a very difficult time to find accommodation for everyone. “