Student housing crisis could worsen in 2015 – Senator Kathryn Reilly
With a rise in the number of CAO applicants for 2015, Senator Kathryn Reilly, the Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Youth Affairs, has criticised the government’s handling of the ongoing student accommodation crisis over the past number of years. Senator Reilly fears that the crisis will worsen this year as a result of government inaction.
Senator Reilly said:
“It’s great to see a rise in the number of people considering further education in 2015 through their applications to the CAO system.
“However, given the student accommodation crisis we have seen over the past number of years one rightly wonders what has been done to alleviate the now annual problem. It is estimated that the capital alone is currently home to over 80,000 full-time students; yet, in 2014 there was less than 3,000 purpose-built bed spaces in the city.
“In the main, the majority of students are forced into the private rental sector, where they rent expensive houses in the vicinity of the college or university campus while they study. This sector already contains a number of people in the non-student population who would be better served in the social housing sector, but they have not been provided for.
“As a result, there has been a drop off in properties available to rent, particularly in Dublin and this has fed a sharp increase in the cost of rented accommodation. In a desperate attempt to find a suitable place to live, many students are being forced to pay over the odds for their accommodation, with no choice but to settle at exploitative prices, and in some cases the accommodation paid for is completely substandard.
“If 2015 sees a rise in the incoming number of students, which we have had for the past number of years, then the situation is going to be substantially worse. Young people’s futures are being gambled with. There has been a need for the government to take action, but the appetite for an intervention in this crisis seems to be missing."