New USI Digs service will help Meath students find College Accommodation – English

Local Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, Meath West Fine Gael TD
Damien English this month announced the allocation of €49,000 to the
Union of Students of Ireland (USI) to support their appointment of a
Student Housing Officer, to help identify additional accommodation,
including digs and rooms in private homes, to ease the pressure on
securing rented accommodation for students locally and nationally as
we approach the next academic year.

This funding comes in the wake of the recent launch of Rebuilding
Ireland, the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness which identified
the expanded provision of student accommodation as a key area to be
addressed within the Plan’s five pillars to tackle our national
housing challenges.

The Action Plan identifies the importance of providing dedicated and
additional student accommodation to avoid putting additional pressures
on the private rental sector, particularly in and around the many
universities and third-level institutions in urban areas.  To provide
a comprehensive policy context for this action, the Government has
committed to the development of a national student accommodation
strategy in the first half of 2017, led by the Department of Education
and Skills in conjunction with the Higher Education Institutions
(HEIs), the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local
Government (DHPCLG) and other key stakeholders.

However, as an immediate response, the Plan also committed to
providing funding support for a dedicated Student Housing Officer to
work with the USI, local authorities, Approved Housing Bodies and
housing providers as well as other stakeholders, to identify and
expand short-term capacity enhancing measures in the student
accommodation sector and to assist students in finding appropriate
accommodation.  Funding from this Department is now being made
available to USI to support the “digs” service website they run
homes.usi.ie which last year assisted a total of 600 students to find
suitable housing.

Minister English stated: “We have moved quickly to put this new
resource in place to support work on student accommodation, in line
with what was promised in the Action Plan for Housing and
Homelessness.  This is an indication of our intent regarding early
implementation of the actions under this Plan.  The activities planned
for the new Student Housing Project Manager, working with the USI,
will bring benefits to the important area of student accommodation and
all of these individual actions under the Action Plan, if tackled
progressively, will bring us to an overall better housing situation
nationally.

“As well as moving forward on a wide range of developmental and
promotional actions, both Minister Coveney and I are aware the USI
aims to increase from 600 to 1,000 the number of students who find
housing due to their digs service.  I’m delighted therefore that our
Department has taken this real and immediate action as early as we
could to allocate this funding. It will enable this work to move ahead
right away, bearing in mind the urgent student accommodation needs
that are arising, including the forthcoming announcement of the CAO
offers for the 2016/2017 academic year.”

ENDS

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