Government to fund USI housing manager position as part of Rebuilding Ireland plan

A student housing project manager is to help co- ordinate efforts to improve accommodation provision.

The nine-month appointment to the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is being funded by the Government as part of its Rebuilding Ireland housing plan.

Part of the role will be to oversee the union’s online campaign to match students to landlords, which is focusing on encouraging people with spare rooms to rent to students in their own homes.

The rent-a-room scheme, with no tax liability on earnings up to €12,000 a year, is the major short-term focus of efforts to reduce shortages in student bed spaces.

Other responsibilities in the role, which has yet to be advertised, will be to co-ordinate activities for affiliated students’ unions on accommodation. Social media will be used for strategic promotional activities.

The Higher Education Authority recommended a number of initiatives a year ago to help satisfy demand for student accommodation, estimated at around 25,000.

The Department of Housing, Planning, Community, and Local Government is giving USI €49,000 to appoint the new student housing officer, in line with a commitment in Rebuilding Ireland. The plan also commits to producing a student accommodation strategy in the first half of 2017.

Junior Minister Damien English said funding for the housing officer is being provided as early as possible to help support initiatives, including homes.

The USI’s relaunched website, homes.usi.ie, aims to increase the number of students it helps find housing for from 600 last year to 1,000. As well as a property search database, students can search for roommates and landlords can seek out suitable tenants.

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