USI calls on government to tackle student accommodation crisis

USI president, Clare Austick, condemns government inaction on the issue

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has called on the government to address the ongoing crisis for students seeking accommodation.

In a press release, USI described the crisis as “worse than ever”, with many students facing the possibility of deferring the year, couch surfing or living in hostels in order to attend lectures.

USI has said that one students’ union has reported dealing with over 100 requests a day for help regarding accommodation on its Facebook page. 

USI President, Clare Austick has called on the government to take action on the issue. She stated that immediate support is needed for students who may have to drop out or defer due to the lack of accommodation. 

In the statement issued today, October 15, 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, leaving students being pushed out of accommodation that was specifically built for them.”

Austick continued: “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.”

The USI statement precedes a rally organised by the National Homeless and Housing Coalition, which is to take place today, October 15 at Leinster House. 

Jamie Cox

Jamie Cox is current News Analysis Editor for Trinity News and previously served as Higher Education Correspondent. He is a Junior Sophister Ancient and Medieval History and Culture student.