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Melbourne University students demand affordable housing


Students occupied a Melbourne university property today, demanding the University address the housing crisis affecting many students. The property, located at 278 Faraday St, was previously used to house Melbourne University's counseling service but has been vacant since 2005.
This action was taken as part of a campaign for the university to invest in affordable student-run student housing by the Student Housing Action Collective (SHAC). Within the inner city region there is a rental vacancy rate of only 0.3% and the figure for the affordable rental vacancy rate is only a fraction of this. Median Rents are going up by 17 % annually with no signs of slowing.
The Student Housing Action Collective is demanding that Melbourne University make provisions to turn 278 Faraday St into an affordable student housing co-operative managed by students. To this end, the students are going to University Council, the highest decision making body, with a concrete proposal for a viable co-operative.
The Student Housing Action Collective (SHAC) have been campaigning on student homelessness for many months and have been driven by the University's refusal to act. Glyn Davis, Melbourne University's Vice-Chancellor himself acknowledged a few weeks ago that even at this elite university there are up to 440 students who are homeless and even more suffering from severe housing stress.
We thank Glyn Davis for raising this issue but if the university is not prepared to act now then there is no other alternative for students but to take action themselves. Homeless students can't wait. It's time for student voices to be heard in the housing discussion.
The housing shortage has hit crisis point for students. Students are struggling along on meagre or no income support from the government, forced to work long hours to the detriment of their studies in order to pay the rent'.
This issue is one that is particularly felt by international students at Melbourne University. There is a complete dearth of affordable housing offered by Universities to international students. International students often arrive here with no idea of the current housing crisis.
Melbourne University is complicit in the exploitation of international students, treating them as cash cows without providing adequately for their welfare.
The University's response to the housing crisis has thus far has been inadequate. Although we acknowledge the university provides a valuable service to students through the Student Housing Service and housing bursaries scheme, this is not enough in the current housing context. To really address the roots of the housing crisis we need to address the supply side of the housing problem. The best thing the university could do in this respect would be to invest in affordable housing for students.
Students are turning the space into a vibrant community hub with a bike workshop, gardening activities, theatre rehearsal space and art gallery.
We are asking for your support in taking this action. Please show your support, forward this email on, come and visit us for a cup of tea.
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  • edited 2:48PM
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