Housing shortage shrinks as emergency rooms free up

Little over a week after the abandoned school facility at the Metaallaan opened as a third emergency housing location, some international students are already leaving their temporary homes.
By Edward Szekeres

As of Monday morning, the Village container complex on the Peizerweg had 32 newly free beds, with six people checking out just that day, according to location manager Ronald Helmig. ‘And only two new people have come so far.’

All three emergency housing locations now have spaces available for international students without a room. At the Metaallaan, only 33 of 140 beds were occupied on Monday. ‘And the number of students keeps dropping’, says Anne Bout from the facility’s front office.

Further east at the Esdoornflat, 31 of 120 emergency tenants decided not to extend their temporary contracts and moved out on Monday. The rest will remain in the building until 9 October at the latest. But fifteen new students immediately booked the vacated rooms, and ‘the remaining rooms will be taken out very fast’, says Monique Louwes from SSH, the responsible housing company.

Crisis averted

At the Esdoornflat, students stay in private rooms. In the other two locations they must share their privacy with dozens of strangers. Demand for the Esdoornflat is still high, but even so, housing officials are convinced that last year’s crisis has been averted. ‘We want to close the Metaallaan location in the first week of October and we are confident all the students will have moved out by then’, says Anne Bout.

There has also been a general drop in housing inquiries, according to Monique Louwes. ‘We don’t think people will be without a permanent room by the end of October.’

But others are not so sure. The Village complex still expects an influx of students in need of emergency housing. ‘Where will these people go once the Metaallaan and Esdoornflat close?’ asks location manager Ronald Helmig. The container unit will remain open the longest, until 26 October. Then it will have to remake its large makeshift bedroom into an exam hall for the University. ‘Unfortunately we can’t extend the deadline beyond that’, adds Helmig.

For students who haven’t found a room of their own yet, uncertainty looms. ‘We love the genuine community vibe here’, says Metaallaan resident Christian Senior (23). The arts, culture and media student watches his roommates wrestle and goof around. ‘But beggars can’t be choosers. I’ve only found rooms available from December. I don´t know where I’ll go.’


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