Statement, April 22nd 2014
The Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) demands that the alarmingly poor housing situation in the metropolitan area must be improved: we need more housing to Helsinki, especially for students. HYY is particularly concerned about the students' housing situation after the Government's decision to completely cut rental subsidies for student housing communities. HYY also wants to bring out the housing situation in the metropolitan area when crowning the Havis Amanda statue with a student cap on the eve of May Day.
As an answer to chronic housing shortage, HYY demands closer cooperation from the operators in the metropolitan area. The cities and non-profit constructors must ensure that the city's annual goal to construct 1,000 new ARA-financed rental apartments is implemented in order to have a sufficient number of new affordable apartments in Helsinki. Higher education institutions and student organisations should also be included in the planning of student housing.
In addition, we need open-minded solutions.
- All means must be taken to increase affordable housing. There are enough square metres in Helsinki, we just need to use them efficiently by transforming old industrial and office buildings into housing, envisions Jaakko Rissanen, HYY Board Member in charge of housing affairs.
The unreasonable housing situation in the metropolitan area hits particularly hard on students. The queues of the Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region HOAS tell about high demand: last year, there were almost 6,000 applications in HOAS housing queue at its worst. In the private market, the rental level escaped from the student's reach. In 2013, rents of non-subsidised housing in the metropolitan area increased an average of 4.4 per cent and in other parts of the country 3.3 per cent, while the level of student benefits remained unchanged.
By improving the housing situation, Helsinki will become a better and more attractive place to live.
- Too expensive housing costs may be an obstacle to come to study in Helsinki. The choice of study place should be determined by the students' own skills and interests, not by their solvency, says Chairperson of HYY Board Anna-Maija Riekkinen.
HYY Board will crown Havis Amanda statue with a student cap at Helsinki Market Square on the eve of May Day with the theme More Housing to Helsinki. Festivities will begin by washing the statue at 5pm on 30 Apr. Manta statue will receive her student cap at 6pm.
Anna-Maija Riekkinen, Chair of HYY Board
Katri Korolainen, HYY’s Secretary General
Further information : Jaakko Rissanen, member of board jaakko.rissanen(at)hyy.fi, 0503259175