Housing crisis

University of Glasgow students placed in emergency accommodation amid housing crisis

Glasgow University students have been placed in emergency hotel rooms in a bid to tackle the housing crisis.

At least 70 students have come forward asking for help with homelessness, but the figure is feared to be much higher.

Of these, 49 students say they are homeless with 25 couch surfers. A further 24 Glasgow University students live in hostels, hotels, temporary spare rooms or at home.

The students have now filed a formal complaint against the institution for its handling of the housing shortage.

Some said they commuted from Edinburgh, Dundee, Greenock, Helensburgh, Fife and Perth to attend lectures as the university does not offer distance learning.

In the complaint, seen by STV News, it says some students are paying £1,200 a month for accommodation.

It reads: “We have heard of a woman who is staying in a hostel room with 13 other people, most of whom are older men; several other students pay £1,200 a month for accommodation; and a group of college students stay in an apartment in extremely dangerous conditions with a menacing landlord but cannot risk moving due to the low likelihood of finding a new apartment.

“We have been in contact with several international students in very precarious situations, one is currently stranded in China as the University has been unable to provide them with accommodation, but they arrive on October 8 with nowhere where to go.

Three students, stuck in the ‘relentless’ situation, told STV News how the temporary experience unfolded.

“It’s been a temporary relief, definitely, having my own space, using my own shower and everything,” Neve McLean said.

“But there’s no kitchen and nowhere to do my laundry, so we’re still missing the key elements of a home that we need.”

Neve’s friend Krishen Chadwick-Patel said: “It was meant to be a relief, they described it as ‘a break while you look for your accommodation’ – hopefully they extend it to- beyond two weeks and that we can stay longer if we are unable to find anything.

Of the three friends, Lois Barnot has managed to find temporary accommodation – but can only stay for just under two weeks.

“After that, maybe I’ll join these guys in the hotels soon,” she said. “We are still looking for apartments, we haven’t given up, but it’s quite relentless.

The complaint filed against the university calls for an immediate plan, covering all aspects of the crisis and how the university will deal with it and students currently without accommodation.

Ellie Gomersall, Chair of NUS Scotland, said: “We urgently need rent controls and a student accommodation guarantee which ensures that government, universities and local authorities work together so that every student has a safe and affordable housing.

It comes as emergency legislation is being fast-tracked by the Scottish Parliament, seeking to increase protection for tenants from rest hikes and evictions during the cost of living crisis.

These measures will also apply to students in college or university residences or other types of purpose-built housing.

A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said: “Unfortunately, due to a significant contraction in the private rental market, demand for rooms continues to be significantly above expectations in Glasgow and more broadly in Scotland and United Kingdom.

“Like most urban universities, we cannot guarantee accommodation for returning students.

“We understand the worry and stress of finding accommodation for the new semester and want to reassure students that colleagues at the university continue to work to find solutions caused by the shortage at the city ​​scale.

“As part of our efforts, we have increased the number of rooms under university management by 25% for this academic year.

“We have focused – as is our usual policy – ​​on accommodating first-year undergraduate students who live a significant distance from our campus. There has been no significant increase in the number of students this year.