Another day, another story about the dismal student housing on offer in Ireland.
UCD SU are doing great work to bring to light the shocking standards of housing that landlords are expecting students to agree to. This is now the third time they've gone undercover to reveal just how bad the student housing crisis is, and this time is just as shocking as the others.
This time it was UCD student Katie Ascough, after her colleague Barry had to step down as he became recognisable from the viral campaign. Speaking about her mission, she said:
"We went to a place in Crumlin where a bed was going for 250 a month. When we got there, we saw that the bed was located in the living room above the couch. It was a man made bunk bed. Basically, a grill of metal bars propped up by a cheap, DIY timber frame. It was in the living room because 6 other people were sharing the 3 available bedrooms. The place was an example of the lengths people are going to in Dublin. You have to go to ridiculous lengths to have an affordable rent if you're not able to cough up €1,500 per month, which is the average rent in the city. An average rent beyond the reach of the average student and a lot of workers."
This is all part of UCDSU's work with TCD Students' Union and Daft.ie to increase the amount of digs on the market. They've met with Minister Murphy on this project and he endorses it, telling them that a funding arrangement for it will be set up in the coming weeks.
They're now looking to meet with Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor for Higher Education in the hopes that the Department of Education and Skills will match the funding made available by the Department of Housing so UCD, TCD & Daft.ie can expand this project further and get even more beds on the market for the 1,000s of new entrants today. So far, the Minister for Higher Education has been unresponsive to requests for a meeting. But if some of these clips reach her office, that position will hopefully change.
The advantage of the UCD, TCD project is that it puts student beds on the market that are digs and, as such, located in the primary residence of the homeowner. A "digs" room will normally have adequate living space, come with access to standard facilities and be of decent hygiene. Whereas our experience undercover shows that the same cannot be said for a lot of what's available at a student price in the private rental sector.
You can see this week's reveal on the UCDSU Facebook page here.