Students placed in emergency accommodation amid housing crisis

At least 70 students have come forward to seek help for homelessness, but the figure is feared to be much higher.

Students at the University of Glasgow have been placed in emergency hotel accommodation in an effort to tackle the housing crisis.

At least 70 students have come forward to seek help for homelessness, but the figure is feared to be much higher.

Of those, 49 students say they are unhoused with 25 sofa-surfing. A further 24 attending the University of Glasgow are living in hostels, hotels, temporary spare rooms, or at home.

Students have now lodged a formal complaint against the institution for their handling of the accommodation shortage.

Some have reported commuting from as far as Edinburgh, Dundee, Greenock, Helensburgh, Fife, and Perth to attend lectures as the university is not offering remote learning.

In the complaint, seen by STV News, it says some students are paying £1200 a month for accommodation.

It reads: “We have heard from one woman who is staying in a hostel room with 13 other people, most of whom are older males; several other students are paying £1200 a month for accommodation; and a group of students are staying in a flat in extremely dangerous conditions with a threatening landlord but cannot risk moving out due to the unlikelihood of finding a new flat.

“We have been in touch with several international students in very precarious situations, one is currently stuck in China as the University has been unable to provide them accommodation, but they are arriving on the 8th of October with nowhere to go.

Three students, stuck in the “relentless” situation, told STV News how the temporary experience has been.

“It has been a temporary relief, definitely, to have my own space, use my own shower and everything,” said Neve McLean.

“But there is no kitchen and nowhere I can do my laundry, so we’re still missing out on the key elements of a home that we do need.”

Neve’s friend, Krishen Chadwick-Patel said: “It was meant to be a relief, they described it as ‘a break while you’re searching for your accommodation’ – hopefully they extend it past the two weeks and we get to stay there longer if we’re unable to find something.”

Of the three friends, Lois Barnot managed to find some temporary accommodation – but can only stay for slightly less than two weeks.

“After that I’m going to maybe be joining these guys in hotels soon,” she said. “We’re still looking for flats, we haven’t given up, but it’s quite relentless.”

The complaint lodged against the university asks for an immediate plan, covering all aspects of the crisis and how the university will deal with both it and the students who are currently unhoused.

Ellie Gomersall, president of the NUS Scotland, stated: “We urgently need rent controls and a student housing guarantee that ensures government, universities, and local authorities work together so every student has a safe and affordable place to live.”

It comes as emergency legislation is currently being fast-tracked through Scottish Parliament, seeking to increase protection for tenants from rest rises and evictions during the cost of living crisis.

These measures will also apply to students in college or university halls or other types of purpose-built accommodation.

A University of Glasgow spokesperson said: “Regrettably, due to a significant contraction in the private rental market, demand for rooms continues to be substantially ahead of expectation in Glasgow and more broadly across Scotland and the UK.

“Like most urban universities, we cannot guarantee accommodation for returning students.

“We understand the concern and stress about finding accommodation for the new semester and we want to reassure students that colleagues across the university are continuing to work to find solutions caused by the citywide shortage.

“As part of our efforts, we have increased the number of rooms under university management by 25% for this academic year.

“We have focused – as is our usual policy – on providing accommodation to first-year undergraduate students who live at a significant distance from our campus. There has been no significant increase in student numbers this year.”

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