Universities need to do more to prevent student homelessness, which is expected to rise with the cost of living crisis and rising participation in higher education, a report has declared.
Students are less likely to experience homelessness than their peers in the general population, but with more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds being admitted to universities, experts say the risk of homelessness may be higher and they may need extra support.
The report, published by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (Hepi), has evidence of “hidden homelessness” among students who rent sofas to be able to Decamp under one roof. But Dec says there is not enough data on homelessness among current and former students.
A survey this year by the National Union of Students in Scotland found that 12% of pupils have reported experiencing homelessness since they started their education.
International students with children also have difficulty finding a place to stay. This group may have a higher risk of becoming homeless. A student from Nigeria told the Guardian she had been staying with her family on Airbnb and other short-term stays for six months and had been unable to find suitable accommodation.
All students that are determined to be experienced homelessness or at risk of homelessness in the report, especially in times of high risk, such as summer holidays, short-term targeted support, including access to financial assistance or accommodation should receive stated.
Greg Hurst, author of the report, said: “While there has been an increase in inflation in excess of 9%, it means that from autumn the student will be forced to pay for their rent, as well as high food and energy costs”