Demand for housing is peaking this week as students float to Groningen on the eve of the new academic year. Just last Monday, housing company SSH had to accommodate more than 800 arriving students, according to company representative Monique Louwes.
As a result, all 120 private rooms at the Esdoornflat are now booked, with around 40 of them taken out until 9 October, and the rest until 9 September.
But as students struggle to find permanent housing, many of them will likely extend their contracts until the October deadline. ‘I came here a week ago and took out a room until September, but I already know I will have to extend until October’, says Shika Angelique (22), a chemical engineering master student from Ghana.
‘I’ve been here for almost two weeks now’, Johannes Rissler (28) adds, ‘and I will have to stay until October.’ The music student from Germany had already applied for 25 different rooms online. ‘All I got was one viewing somewhere outside the city.’
‘We are now contacting the tenants about possible extensions until 9 October’, confirms Monique Louwes of SSH.
People still in need of a place to stay are now being referred to The Village, a short-stay container complex with an on-site gym and restaurant. The complex was full as of Thursday afternoon, but 20 extra beds will be added, said Huis van Verhuur, the real estate office behind the container units.
Students interested in reserving the remaining beds should go directly to the Village on Peizerweg. Booking online is not possible. Costs are 49 euro a week. Once the containers fill up, 100 extra beds will be available at the Metaallaan, a former school.
But the demand for emergency housing is already showing signs of cooling off. ‘Requests for rooms are becoming more sporadic now. Still, the number of available beds is higher than the expected influx of people’, explains Monique Louwes of SSH.
SSH anticipates the housing market to free up at the end of September when many students move out after their graduation. Meeting people and establishing social networks also helps in the grueling room hunt. ‘And if people still find themselves without permanent housing in October, we will be there to help.’