Students struggling with Cork City’s rental crisis are resorting to couch surfing and extended stays in hostels.
Caoimhe Walsh, welfare officer at University College Cork Students’ Union (UCCSU), said many students could not find accommodation and those who find a suitable place to live often cannot afford to pay the rent.
“First there are people who cannot find housing and what they find they just cannot afford,” said Ms. Walsh.
âCollege is back in person, but they can’t come down because they literally have nowhere to live.
“There are students who surf on the couch, talk to friends’ houses, stay where they can.
“There are quite a few students who came to college on Monday and are staying with friends until they find a place to live. It’s just crazy.”
Two Cork hostels have noted an increase in the number of students this year looking for longer-term stays as accommodation searches go on longer than expected.
Bru Bar Hostel on MacCurtain Street said more students are staying at the hostel than in previous years, and they have reported significant interest from overseas students trying to book rooms for a full year.
Sheila’s Hostel on Wellington Road has noted an increase in the number of guests extending their stay after exceeding the one-week maximum limit, especially among international students.
The hostel previously served as a stopover for newly arrived students in the city looking for accommodation.
The housing crisis is also affecting students at the University of Limerick.
An international student who flew to Limerick on September 5 to take a course at UL on September 6 and stayed in a city center hotel, said he wanted to “highlight the shocking state of the homeless. shelters “among the student body. .
The student pays â¬ 370 per week in a city center hotel due to the chronic housing shortage in town and on campus, and fears this will have a long-term impact on his studies.
The student appealed to the University of Limerick for help in securing permanent accommodation, but was unsuccessful.
It comes as student housing crises in Galway and Dublin have now reoccurred in cities across Munster following the lifting of Covid restrictions on campus.
Cork TD Mick Barry said the student housing crisis needed to be addressed “urgently”, saying it had been underlined for months by student unions.
Solidarity TD said the combined pressures of the housing crisis and a shortage of searches of students with families, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, have made the problem worse this year.
âThe government has been warned that a student housing crisis is brewing, but it has stopped during their vacation and has taken no preventive action. They must act now urgently,â he said.