Statement 25 Feb 2015
Students in the metropolitan area: No cuts to student housing construction
”The effectiveness of housing support system” project team of the Ministry of the Environment has proposed in its report delivered to the Minister of Housing Pia Viitanen on 24 February that the investment grant of 10 per cent aimed at student housing construction would be discontinued. The Student Union of the University of Helsinki and Aalto University Student Union AYY do not accept the proposal: it is irresponsible and its implementation would further reduce the students' subsistence and opportunities to find housing in the metropolitan area.
The investment grants allocated by the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland ARA are the lifeline of affordable student housing construction. Withoutthe grants, a number of construction projects may not be implemented.
The presentation of the project team claims that the support system is primarily intended to support projects which require specific facility or equipment solutions when implemented. The claim is inconsistent with the legislation governing investment grants, which particularly defines low-income groups as one of the target groups. A shortage of affordable housing will not be solved by measures which significantly reduce the supply of housing aimed at the most deprived groups.
Housing costs in the metropolitan area, in particular, have gotten out of control. Rental housing prices in the private market well exceed the students' ability to pay. In student housing, the rent of a studio is an average of EUR 432 and a room in a shared apartment costs EUR 291. In the private market, the rent of a studio is an average of EUR 633 and a room in a shared apartment costs EUR 480. Rental costs take an average of 72.4% of the available income of students living alone (Source: Student Research Foundation Otus). On average, only approximately 22% of the income of the rest of the population is spent on housing costs (Source: Statistics Finland).
– Housing costs do not take such a large percentage of income from any other population group than the students. It is outrageous that the students' subsistence is further complicated by increasing the rental level of new student housing, says Chair of HYY Board Mari Kyllönen.
– Currently, the utilisation rate of the housing of Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region Hoas and AYY is 99% and thousands of applicants are waiting in line for an apartment at this very moment. Only by constructing more student housing, we can secure that students in the metropolitan area have a home and reasonable rents. With the investment grants, it is also possible to renovate old buildings and maintain a reasonable rent level, says President of AYY Board Niko Ferm.
HYY Board Member
Tel. 050 325 9175
Vice President of AYY Board
Tel. 050 517 2674