Students may be facing homelessness as the college year starts, especially in Galway, with much student accommodation rented out in advance, leaving young people facing “some stark options”.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs, and Galway East TD, Anne Rabbitte, who is calling on the Galway city and county councils to “make sure there are sufficient supports in place” for students as they return to Galway in September, and for the local authorities to be “proactive, not reactive”, when it comes to student homelessness.
According to the latest homelessness figures at the end of June, there were 44 homeless people aged between 18 and 24 in the Galway, Roscommon and Mayo region, with the majority of these being in Galway.
Dep Rabbitte said some students had been “forced to sleep rough” at the start of term in recent years, including in Eyre Square, but that this cannot be allowed to happen again. “Some students turn to hostels but they’re often fully booked due to the tourism season continuing, and then there’s the impact short term letting is having,” she said. “Some students decide to take-on lengthy commutes, others crash at a friend’s house or in a car and some end up on the street. It’s appalling.”
She has also called on the Government to invest in support structures for student accommodation, saying, “These must and should be considered when formulating the forthcoming Budget”.