The Utrecht action group We Want Living space organizes, in collaboration with the Bond Precaire Woonvorm, a Campout, a camping campaign where students literally camp on the street. An action against the bad housing market and living conditions, which both Dutch and international students in Utrecht have to contend with. In Utrecht, as in many other student cities, there is a serious housing shortage. The endless search for affordable housing is the order of the day for many students. Meanwhile, landlords take advantage of this shortage by charging absurdly high prices for poorly maintained rooms. We protest against this.
Thursday 15 March, from 2 pm at the Janskerkhof in Utrecht.
Aindriu (Andrew) is one of the founders and promoters of the action group We Want Woonruimte. He came to the Netherlands as an Irish student to study political science and music production. Since his arrival in September 2017, he has been looking for an affordable room with housing security in Utrecht. This search is extremely difficult. He's not alone in that.
In this video he says some more:
First he slept in a hostel, then on the couch with friends, then in a temporary room of five square meters for four hundred euros with a slum landlord, and then ended up subletting with students in a short-stay home from SSH. However, at the end of February, Aindriu and his roommates had to leave this house because it is being demolished. He was offered a room through Holland2stay, but it was not affordable. All rooms are around seven hundred euros per month. So too expensive.
The example of Aindriu does not stand alone. Recently, the BPW spoke to many students who are struggling with a housing crisis at the Utrecht tenant consultation hour. housing shortage; before, during or after the study. From (illegal) subletting, to anti-squat, from expensive private individuals to camping sites and from cars to friends' mattresses or even the termination of the study because one cannot find a place to live; the room and housing shortage in Utrecht and the surrounding area is large. It is estimated that there is a national shortage of 47,000 student rooms, a significant part of which is in Utrecht.
More actions will follow shortly to make universities, housing associations and the municipality of Utrecht aware of their responsibility to tackle this crisis. We want more permanent, secure and affordable housing to become available.
We have 3 requirements.
1. No more extreme rents: the points system of the Rent Assessment Committee must be enforced by law, so that everyone pays a fair price.
2. Make use of empty (office) buildings for student housing: it is unacceptable for students to be homeless while buildings are empty.
3. Shared responsibility: the university, municipality and housing associations must immediately take active responsibility together for affordable housing solutions.
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For more information, please contact We Want Woonruimte or the Bond Precaire Woonvorm
studenthousingaction ( at ) zoho.eu or contact ( at ) bondprecairewoonvorm.nl
Read more backgrounds here and also watch the (video) stories of Melanie, Cristina and Aindriu.
We Want Living space https://www.facebook.com/groups/UtrechtHousingAction/about/
The Camp Out event. https://www.facebook.com/events/575443652808654/
Cristina also came to the Netherlands as an international student. After months of searching and spending a lot of money on websites like Kamernet, she finally found a place. However, she could only stay there for a short time. After this, she had to live illegally with a friend because she simply couldn't afford anything else. This despite Cristina having saved money and had a job in Utrecht – as a bicycle courier with a zero-hours contract. She is currently in a precarious living situation again, because the building she lives in is being sold by Mitros. Meanwhile, the living conditions are very bad. There is no maintenance, so Cristina had to buy a stove for lack of heating, and she repaired leaks herself with towels and tape.
Melanie lived in six different places in four years. Often homes were only temporary, or she was forced to leave by the main resident or landlord. The two-person policy does not make it any easier. For example, Melanie lived in a house with four rooms last year, where, despite this, only two people were allowed to register. She therefore lived there without registration, and had to be careful when leaving the house that the landlord did not accidentally cycle past. On top of her current rent, she also has to pay monthly for the storage of the furniture that she bought in a previous home, because it could not be taken to her current home.