HousErasmus+: an “alarming” student housing situation across Europe.

In September we flew to Brussels to attend the HouseErasmus+ final conference. The event was a unique opportunity to meet with other stakeholders in the field student housing and student mobility and to discuss together about the best practices and main challenges in our field.

On top of workshops, panel discussions and networking opportunities, during the two-days event we were also presented with the final results of a 2 years research project on the student housing sector for international students coming to Europe. This was conducted by Erasmus Student Network (ESN), the European University Foundation (EUF), the Compostela Group of Universities (CGU) and the Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA). The aim of this activities and surveys was to create a comprehensive overview of how students, student organisations, higher education institutions, housing providers and policymakers perceive the situation.

According to their findings, the student housing situation in Europe is alarming. Housing supply shortage across many EU hosting nations, together with the difficulties affecting international students in finding a place to live, are amongst the main issues detected. Some of the research data for example, revealed that 45% of Erasmus+ students have found the housing market of their host country difficult, and 12% experienced an attempted act of fraud. Also, 1 out of 3 students needs to move at least once during their period abroad. And an alarming 1 out of 4 students goes abroad without having permanent accommodation pre-arranged.

The research team has identifies 9 most pressing issues to be addressed, such as the lack of awareness amongst stakeholders, the need for more cooperation, the lack of quality information, the quality assurance, discrimination & fraud, the students’ financial burden, the short-term accommodation issue, and the trainees facing most challenges. Among all of these, we feel that cooperation between higher education institutions, policymakers and housing providers has to be taken to the next level, so that we can all together improve the overall experience of international students in finding adequate housing solutions. At Staytoo, we value cooperation with both receiving and sending Universities, and we are open to discuss partnerships and ways to better promote and facilitate the finding of quality accommodation for students coming to Europe. So #StayInTouch if you want to discuss this subject with us or if you are thinking of ways we can make it easier for international students to find quality housing solutions in Europe!

The HousErasmus+ survey was based on 8,000 replies all over Europe and took place over a two year period. The Policy Recommendation and Good Practice Booklet is a condensed summary of the challenges identified and the solutions recommend to all stakeholders to improve the situation in Europe, and the Final Research Report is the extensive analysis of all the data collected in the surveys, study visits, conferences and desk reviews.