Temporary housing for Ukrainians could eventually become student housing
The office buildings and other vacant buildings that are now being converted into temporary housing for Ukrainian refugees can also be used for student housing in the future, according to student housing partner Kences. The organization said there is currently a shortage of 26,500 student housing units and that number will increase in the coming years.
"We see this as an opportunity," said director Jolan de Bie. Kences has been calling for empty real estate to be converted into student housing for some time now.
"Permits are not normally granted for that," explained De Bie. "Now during this refugee crisis, it is possible." She understands that the war situation makes things possible that would not work in normal times. "I try to see it from the positive side. If the refugees are gone at some point, students may be able to move into the homes, even if only temporarily."
Both Kences and the National Student Union (LSVb) do not know whether students who, for example, who are legally squatting will be evicted from their homes because of the arrival of Ukrainian refugees. "I have not heard any stories yet," said LSVb chair Ama Boahene.
She is also positive about the living space that will be added by converting buildings for refugees. "We welcome the fact that the regulations are now being dealt with more flexibly," she said.
Boahene does find it "very strange" that the problems with student housing that are "obvious" have not been addressed for years. At the beginning of this academic year, students slept on campsites. "There were even students who had to sleep in bus shelters. I find it very strange that people just let that happen."
Reporting by ANP.