Lack of permanent housing frustrates students

Lack of permanent housing frustrates students

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According to LU Accommodation, 2700 students applied for housing this summer. However only 60 persons are now listed on the the new waiting list that was set up on Arrival day in August. Photo: Jonas Jacobson

According to Swedish National Union of Students (SFS) seven out of ten new students in Lund will be without permanent housing this fall. “We are really not satisfied with the work of the municipality,” says Björn Sanders, president of Lund University Student unions (Lus). 

Katie Cavendish came to Lund in August from Great Britain to study a master’s programme in management. She had done quite a lot of research beforehand and was prepared that it would be difficult to get housing.
“But I didn’t think it would be this difficult”, she says.

Katie has tried checking AF Bostäder, BoPoolen and Blocket to find somewhere to live, but without any success so far. She managed to get temporary housing through BoPoolen at Arrival day but she can only stay there for another two weeks.

Katie feels that the university has done a good job giving out information about how to acquire accommodation, but she is starting to feel a bit stressed.
“My studies have begun and I feel a need to be able to relax and not worry about finding housing,” she says.

Approximately 2000 new international students will enroll at the university this fall. LU Accommodation and BoPoolen both agree that fewer students seem to be looking for accommodation this fall compared to last year. This could be explained by the fact that the university has accepted fewer international students.

According to LU Accommodation, 2700 students applied for housing this summer. However only 60 persons are now listed on the  the new waiting list that was set up on Arrival day in August. Ylva Sörhede, accommodation coordinator at LU Accommodation, explains that this might be the result of many students finding housing on their own.

However, the Swedish National Union of Students (SFS) recently estimated that at least seven out of ten new students starting in Lund this fall  will be without permanent housing.

Students looking for a place to live are encouraged to, apart from LU Accomodation and BoPoolen, approach AF Bostäder and student nations. Every international student can apply at LU Accommodation and BoPoolen. How long time it takes to get housing through LU Accomodation depends though on when students currently occupying apartments drop their contracts, or in the case of BoPoolen, on how fast you can connect with a landlord.

To queue at AF Bostäder you need to be a member of Akademiska Föreningen (AF) and if you do not get novisch (new student) housing, the expected waiting time for a corridor room is one year, and two years for an apartment. The student nations offer housing to those members active in their nation, and as such you need to work two or three semesters before you can expect to get an apartment.

Neither of above-mentioned organisations are municipal and Björn Sanders, president of Lund University Student unions (Lus), is  not happy that this is the case.
“We are really not satisfied with the work of the municipality. It shouldn’t be AF Bostäder that shoulders the responsibility to build more apartments, but  Lund municipality.”

But Lund municipality claims that they are doing all that they can.
“We provide land and detailed planning to build student housing. We work to increase the amount of housing built, and we mediate contact between operaters”,  says Björn  Abelson, chair of the local housing comitee.

Jose De la Riva has just started studying a masters programme at Lund University. Having no other home than a couch distracts him from his studies. Photo: Fanny Beckman
Jose De la Riva has just started studying a masters programme at Lund University. Having no other home than a couch distracts him from his studies. Photo: Fanny Beckman

As Jose  de la Riva arrived in Lund he felt a strike of panic. He came here from Mexico to study a master programme in European Studies but on arrival realised that he would have no
permanent place to live.
“I imagined myself with all my baggage in the street”, he says.

He tried to contact landlords but it turned out to be a real challenge getting any answers. By going to BoPoolen and asking for advice Jose managed to find a couch to sleep on, but he is still searching for permanent accommodation.
“Sleeping on a couch suffices at least for now. But instead of only feeling excitement at studying I also feel anguished because I haven’t sorted out my accommodation,” he says.

Tips from BoPoolen for students looking for housing:

  • Do not be to picky.
  • Do not restrict your search to Lund, there is plenty of housing outside the city.
  • Enter in all available queues for housing, the nations, AFB etc.
  • Make sure your surroundings know that you are searching.
  • Patience and persistence give results.

 

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