Calls for help from students are increasing. At all levels, and the issue of housing is no exception. “More and more people have had to leave their accommodation to return to their parents, at least for those who could, others are in debt, they can no longer pay their rent”, blows Mélanie Luce, president of the UNEF (National Union of Students of France).
On the side of the Fage (Federation of general student associations), the requests are also important. “We have people in precariousness who find it increasingly difficult to find accommodation, including a lot of international students who find themselves on the street, it’s very complicated to manage”, concedes Luna Pelchat, student vice-president at the Crous Paris.
“The rents are much too expensive”
The whole of Ile-de-France, the region which receives the most students in France (27%), is affected. “It’s even more difficult for Ile-de-France residents, because more resources are needed for housing,” adds Mélanie Luce. The rents there are much too expensive. »The latest Unef ranking of the cost of university living attests to this, in which Paris comes first with an average rent of 885 euros, followed by Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine) with 745 euros and Créteil (Val-de-Marne ) which displays 720 euros.
How to pay in these times of crisis when odd jobs have disappeared? “In the region, half of the students work at the same time as their studies, many have lost this additional income with the health crisis and find themselves squatting in each other’s homes”, insists Valérie Pécresse, president (Free!) Of the council regional.
To respond to this precariousness and ultimately avoid dropping out of studies, in addition to the proposal to “vouch for 15,000 new loans for a total amount of 4 million euros for Ile-de-France students”, the region must vote on Thursday an exceptional aid plan.
“We are going to rent four Accor hotels which have been chosen with the Red Cross. The first two will open Porte de Saint-Ouen and Porte de Châtillon, in Paris, in the coming days, ”says Valérie Pécresse, without revealing a precise date. In total, 15,000 overnight stays will be offered to students, including those in BTS and preparatory classes.
L’Unf demands to increase housing aid
“We also have a partnership with the three Crous (Editor’s note: from Paris, Versailles and Créteil) who are committed to finding us accommodation in boarding schools, in their residences or in the social housing, to install these students, ”continues Valérie Pécresse. Thirdly, the region plans to make advances on APL (personalized housing assistance) “to secure the installation in integration housing”. “An experiment will be launched with around a hundred young people, it is an operation in partnership with the Federation of solidarity associations”, details the president.
If the student associations welcome these initiatives which “respond to an emergency situation”, they believe that it is necessary to go further. “We have obtained an increase in specific aid such as Asap (specific one-off allowances) which will allow students who do not benefit from grants to have financial aid”, recalls Anniela Lamnaouar, vice-president in charge of social affairs à la Fage, for whom we must think of the student housing problem more broadly.
The UNEF wants “an increase in housing aid by 20% because the situation is far too critical for students” and “we must implement the exemption of rents in university residences”, continues Mélanie Luce, while invoking the need “to build more student accommodation”.