Office buildings and other vacant buildings that are currently being converted into temporary housing for Ukrainian refugees may 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 accommodation and that this number will increase in the coming years.
“We see this as an opportunity,” said director Jolan de Bie. Kences has been calling for empty properties to be converted into student accommodation for some time.
“Permits are not normally granted for this,” De Bie explained. “Now, during this refugee crisis, it is possible.” She understands that the war situation makes things possible that would not normally work. “I try to see things on the positive side. If the refugees have left at some point, the students may be able to move into the houses, even if only temporarily.”
Kences and the National Union of Students (LSVb) do not know whether students who, for example, legally squat will be expelled from their homes due to the arrival of Ukrainian refugees. “I haven’t heard any stories yet,” said LSVb president Ama Boahene.
She is also positive about the living space that will be added by converting the buildings for refugees. “We welcome the fact that regulations are now being handled more flexibly,” she said.
Boahene finds it “very strange” that student housing issues that are “obvious” have not been resolved for years. At the start of this academic year, students were sleeping in campsites. “There were even students who had to sleep in bus shelters. I find it very strange that people let that happen.”