As of this Friday, all beds in emergency accommodation The Village at the Peizerweg are spoken for, municipal spokesperson Manon Hoiting confirms. The beds are available to students who have arrived in Groningen but haven’t yet found a room.
Students in need of a place to stay are now referred to the Bud Gett Hostel in the city centre. ‘We have thirty beds there, but we can scale up to fifty.’
As in previous years, it’s mainly international students who are having great difficulty finding a room in Groningen. It’s not unusual for them to have been looking for a roof over their heads for months, while still in their home country. They keep running into problems which make that impossible and they hope for better luck upon arrival in Groningen, but that doesn’t always work out.
On Tuesday, the municipality reported that the first wave of homeless international students had passed, but that they were expecting a second wave towards the opening of the academic year on September 6. With one week to go, the number of available beds in the emergency accommodation seems to be dwindling.
Hoiting emphasises that it’s important that students in the emergency accommodation continue to look for a permanent living space. According to her, there’s a slow trickle of students who are trading in their emergency bed – in either The Village or Martini House, which is also fully booked – for a room of their own.
The youth and student organisations that have united under the flag of Shelter Our Students (SOS) are worried. They have launched a couchsurfing initiative and have been calling those who have a place available since Thursday, to pair them with a homeless student.
So far, fifty people have offered a bed, but 250 students have applied for one. ‘170 people have let us know when they’re coming to Groningen’, says Marinus Jongman on behalf of SOS. ‘The peak of arrivals is this weekend until Wednesday.’