Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 1. 1967.
Slum Living For Students
Slum Living For Students
Shortage of student accommodation is greater this year than any previous time.
This is despite a massive publicity campaign involving press, radio and television appeals. There has been at least three applicants for every hostel bed available to students. The demand for flats and private board has risen spectacularly.
Increased enrolments coupled with a decrease in the number of flats available to students account for the shortage.
Business premises encroaching on to the north end of The Terrace, Wellington's new motorway, and the expansion of the university itself, are all eating up space occupied by student flats.
Salient visits some flats
Salient visited a number of flats offered by land agents-Many were not above slum standards.
One of the better examples had no hot water system, the floor coverings were rotting, it was impossible to see through the grime on the windows, the stench of decaying food permeated the entire house, and there were several poems inscribed on the walls of the toilet. The rent was ten pounds a week.
The university accommodation service has placed about 550 students in approved quarters. All accommodation offered to the service is inspected before being listed.
Future prospects promise little relief. The new extensions to Weir House are expected to be ready for occupation by the beginning of next year. This new block will provide 90 beds to be allocated to Colombo Plan students.
This is drastically inadequate to cater for the future, increases in university population which is predicted to stabilise at an annual increase of 400.
Church schemes now planned
It will be early 1970's before any further beds are provided. At the moment there are four church schemes planned to provide hostel beds, but the earliest any could become operative is 1970. By that time the roll would have increased by 1200.
There is doubt as to whether these schemes will provide the type of accommodation most wanted by students. But as the Rev. Murray says, "There will always be a number of students requiring this type of accommodation."
Later in the year an appeal will be opened to raise funds for the schemes. Difficulties must be expected in obtaining the money under the present credit squeeze. This could lead to delays.
Wellington's chronic housing shortage forces the student to compete for living space with the labour force, the latter having a distinct financial advantage.
Expect position to deteriorate
Private enterprise has found it more profitable to build owner-occupier flats and the City Council is committed to building pensioner blocks. Students can expect little relief from these quarters.
Victoria students can at best expect a continuance of the current accommodation shortage. More likely the position will deteriorate.