For this year’s intake of college students, the joy of receiving CAO offers has been replaced with a fear of not being able to find a place to live
This year’s cohort of third level entrants are facing the greatest student accommodation crisis in the history of the State, according to Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon.
Deputy Gannon, who is the party’s education spokesperson, said:
“The joy and relief felt by tens of thousands of students who received CAO offers just yesterday has already been replaced with a fear of not being able to find affordable accommodation for the upcoming college term.
“Today, we witnessed the sad spectacle of students’ unions from UCD and Trinity College handing out flyers to Dublin commuters in a desperate attempt to secure digs for students through the Rent-a-Room scheme. Students themselves would agree that this scheme is just a sticking-plaster solution and is not a panacea for accommodation shortages, which are a result of failed policies by successive governments.
“This Government’s refusal to invest in more publicly funded on-campus housing stands in stark contrast with its reliance on private investment funds to deliver purpose-built student accommodation. These units, which are developed on a for-profit basis, can be prohibitively expensive for students and the rents are not controlled.
“Failure to enforce regulations for short-term lets on platforms such as Airbnb has also contributed to the student accommodation shortages we have seen in recent years.
“Not having a secure place to live can have a devastating impact on the mental health of students and can damage their chances of academic success. Instead of enjoying college life after the stress of sitting their Leaving Certificate, many students will be forced to defer their CAO offers or may even end up dropping out of their course due to the accommodation crisis.
“In worst case scenarios, we will see students becoming homeless and forced to couch surf, live in tents or sleep in cars. Others who remain at home with their parents will face gruelling commutes of up to six hours a day in order to attend lectures.
“Students will rightly feel abandoned by the Government. They know that unless there is a dramatic reversal of policy, the current student accommodation shortage will be nothing more than a prelude to the wider housing crisis that will await them when they graduate.”
August 31, 2023