Students across Cork have been urged to take part in an online survey being undertaken by Sinn Féin to share their experiences of trying to source accommodation.
Sinn Fein TD for Cork East, Deputy Pat Buckley, said the survey would offer students and apprentices an opportunity to air their views on how the issue is impacting on the their studies and wider college experience.
The survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/StudentHousingCrisis
Deputy Buckley said he was being contacted on a daily basis by students and their families who were “worried sick” about how they will secure suitable accommodation ahead of the new academic year.
He said this has come amid growing concerns about whether there will be sufficient accommodation in Cork available to cope with demand when the new academic term starts.
“Many students are concerned they will have to make long, exhausting and expensive commutes to college because they can find nothing nearby. They should be able to focus on their studies, not face the added stress and hassle of navigating the housing crisis,” said Deputy Buckley.
“We want to hear from students in Cork about they are being impacted personally, so we can tell the real story of how this crisis is affecting them.”
Deputy Buckley said Sinn Fein has been consistently warning Minister Simon Harris that the country was “hurling headlong into an accommodation crisis for students.”
“Despite this, the government failed to act and students and their families are now paying the price. This has to stop. Students in Cork deserve better and they need to see this sorted as an urgent priority,” said Deputy Buckley.
He said the party had set out solutions “time and time again”, including the provision of capital investment enabling higher educational institutes to progress shovel ready building projects providing affordable student accommodation.
“On-campus building projects had to be put on hold because it is not economically viable for institutes to deliver them and offer them at an affordable rate without government financial intervention,” said Deputy Buckley.
“We need to fully examine the use of rapid build construction units in the here and now as students need immediate action. The Minister must also initiate a national awareness campaign on the rent-a-room tax relief to encourage homeowners to participate. The solutions are there, if the government is willing to act,” said Deputy Buckley.