The student accommodation provider SSH will offer more student rooms in 2017, in a move that seeks to tackle the housing crisis in Groningen.
Jesse Van Mourit, SSH Spokesperson, says the organisation hopes to add several hundred new rooms for the 17/18 academic year, and will continue to consult with RUG and Hanze regarding the numbers of rooms needed.
As the official accommodation provider for the two universities, SSH currently offers 1550 rooms in Groningen for non-Dutch students to apply for pre-arrival. However, with 5,000 international students at RUG alone, SSH accommodation was full by the end of July. The shortage means some students have had to stay in temporary accommodation such as hostels whilst they search for a permanent room.
Anders Alavarez, an exchange student from Navarra, Spain, was not able to secure accommodation in advance of arriving. “It’s impossible,” he says, explaining that he had stayed in three short term accommodation options in total whilst he searched for a room in a house. “It’s not the most comfortable thing.”
According to Van Mourit, the Housing Act 2015 restricted SSH’s ability as a landlord to work with other partners. This limiting factor will soon be reversed, making collaboration with partners possible again.
However, she cautions that it is still early days. Meetings with providers have taken place and SSH hopes to begin expanding from January 2017, but no definite locations or contracts have been agreed. Will the rooms be ready? ‘We will try our very best,’ she promised.
“The university would encourage SSH’s plans for expansion of their accommodation”, a RUG spokesperson said. A Hanze spokesperson agreed, saying, “we are all working together to see if next year we have sufficient rooms for all students”.
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