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The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) today welcomed the National Student Accommodation Strategy by the Government as new findings from the Union show 36% of students spend one to three months looking for accommodation because of the student accommodation shortage. The Strategy outlines actions to increase student accommodation in the wake of the Rebuilding Ireland, the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, to tackle national housing challenges and increase supply.  

Speaking at the launch, USI President Michael Kerrigan said, “USI has campaigned for years to get the National Student Accommodation Strategy on the agenda to rectify the shortage of student accommodation. USI welcome the significant funding proposed by the strategy to alleviate the short-term pressure on students through our Homes For Study campaign and with digs website homes.usi.ie. The continued funding for the Housing Project Manager will add a level of flexibility and sustainability to address measures in the student accommodation sector, and to assist students in finding appropriate accommodation”.

Mr Kerrigan went on to say, “The omission of the cost of accommodation in the Strategy raises some concern. Already we’re seeing newly built student accommodation climbing to almost €1,000 a month. With Ireland having the second highest fees in Europe, and the average cost of college being €12,500 a year, we will continue to see students priced out of college. Cost of accommodation still needs to be addressed so CAO offers can be a positive moment in any student’s life without the fear of being homeless during college or living in cars”.

The Union also welcomed commitment at invigorating the public and private sectors’ collaboration to enhance delivery of quality Purpose Built Student Accommodation for better availability. The effects of the National Student Accommodation Strategy will really benefit students all over Ireland for years to come.

The Strategy identifies the importance of providing dedicated and additional student accommodation to avoid putting additional pressures on the private rental sector, particularly in and around the many universities and third-level institutions in urban areas, and puts actions in place to end the shortage.

Minister Bruton said, “Housing output fell by over 90%, from 93,000 homes in 2006 to just over 8,301 in 2013. We lost a decade worth of home building after the crash of 2008 and the construction industry was in ruins with over 160,000 jobs lost.

“Eleven months into the implementation of Rebuilding Ireland there is strong evidence that the focus on increasing and accelerating supply is starting to work, with planning permissions and commencement notices both up.

“Today, as part of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan, I am launching the first National Student Accommodation Strategy.

“Since the publication of Rebuilding Ireland last year, 1,117 new student bed spaces have been completed and a further 5,000 are currently under construction.  Planning permission has been granted for almost 2,000 student bed spaces and planning applications lodged for a further 3,500.   This means that the target to deliver 7,000 new student bed spaces by 2019 is likely to be exceeded.

“Through the implementation of this plan we are aiming to deliver an additional 21,000 purpose built student accommodation bed spaces places by 2024. Through the Student Accommodation Strategy we will ensure that this target can be reached.

“I would like to thank all the stakeholders that participated on the group which drew up this strategy. In particular I would like to acknowledge the positive contribution of the Union of Students of Ireland. My Department has provided financial assistance to the USI to help them run their #homesforstudy Campaign.”

You can read the full National Student Accommodation Strategy here >>

See the Department for Education and Skills release here >>

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