At least 70 Glasgow Uni students are currently homeless in the city

The university says it’s offering temporary emergency accommodation

At least 70 Glasgow University students are currently homeless as the student housing crisis rages on in the city.

Led by a group of Glasgow students calling themselves, Unhoused Students, the group has put together an open letter towards the university and included the signatures of 70 students who say they are currently either sofa-surfing or staying in hotels. The actual number of students is expected to be far higher.

Glasgow University, a Russell Group university recently ranked 10th best in the UK by the The Times World University Rankings 2023, has been forced to introduce emergency accommodation facilities for vulnerable students. On September 30th the University of Glasgow contacted four spokespeople representing Unhoused Students, offering them a two-week accommodation agreement in the Moxy Hotel in Finnieston. 

Students are able to visit the Fraser Building between 9am-4pm Monday to Friday where the university is providing “direct support and immediate help”. If you need help outside of these hours, you should contact the campus security at Gate House or call 0141 330 6887.

The emergency intervention by the university appears to be a U-turn after the university told students who hadn’t yet found accommodation to ‘withdraw’ or ‘suspend’ their studies. However as The Glasgow Tab has consistently reported throughout this crisis, lots of students have ignored the university’s advice and do not simply want to drop out of university.

The Glasgow Tab has seen the complaint sent to the university by Unhoused Students which shows students who are travelling from as far away as Fife, Perth and Dundee to attend university. Another student was paying £1,200 a month in rent just to live in Glasgow.

Krishen is a second year business management student and one of the spokespeople for Unhoused Students. He told The Glasgow Tab: “The university’s response since late August has been “absolutely terrible, there’s been no response apart from advising students to withdraw or defer a year”.

“Ever since the start of Welcome Week I came up for a (flat) viewing, and I’ve just been sofa-surfing, sleeping on flat-mates’ floors, spare beds…and then we got put into a hotel since last Saturday evening”, says Krishen.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have people that I can stay in their rooms (…) but it’s not the best at all…you want your own personal space”, Krishen says. He as well says other students are missing lectures for flat viewings and are behind on their uni work. By going from sofa to sofa, the students are unable to get a decent night’s sleep, making it more difficult for them to focus on their lectures.

The concoction of the university accepting too many students, the increased number of Airbnb’s, and the way Scottish housing laws are designed are against the students’ favour and pushing landlords out of the private market. The student’s families of these “Unhoused Students” worry about where their children will be sleeping and how they will be commuting from distances as far away as Dundee and Perth and ended up “living in a Parish house with a vicar”. – with this can we say Krishen believes the concoction…

In the formal complaint sent to the university, it reads: ““We have heard from one woman who is staying in a hostel room with 13 other people, most of whom are older males; several other students are paying £1200 a month for accommodation; and a group of students are staying in a flat in extremely dangerous conditions with a threatening landlord but cannot risk moving out due to the unlikelihood of finding a new flat.

“We have been in touch with several international students in very precarious situations, one is currently stuck in China as the University has been unable to provide them accommodation, but they are arriving on the 8th of October with nowhere to go.”

Written by the four spokespeople in their ‘Details of Complaint’ to the university: Krishen Chadwick Patel, Lois Bornat, Neve McLean, Saffron Everitt.

A University of Glasgow spokesperson said: “Regrettably, due to a significant contraction in the private rental market, demand for rooms continues to be substantially ahead of expectation in Glasgow and more broadly across Scotland and the UK.

“Like most urban universities, we cannot guarantee accommodation for returning students.

“We understand the concern and stress about finding accommodation for the new semester and we want to reassure students that colleagues across the university are continuing to work to find solutions caused by the citywide shortage.

“As part of our efforts, we have increased the number of rooms under university management by 25% for this academic year.

“We have focused – as is our usual policy – on providing accommodation to first-year undergraduate students who live at a significant distance from our campus. There has been no significant increase in student numbers this year.”

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