(2nd September 2008)
Last night the University of Melbourne Council acknowledged the lack of affordable student housing and formally requested that the Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis examine co-operative housing as a solution.
The University Council was informed of the activities and plans of the Student Housing Action Co-operative (SHAC). Students from the SHAC Co-operative have been living in vacant terraces owned by the University for the past two weeks. The terraces on Faraday street have been abandoned since 2005 and the University have no current plans for their use.
According to the President of University of Melbourne Postgraduate Association (UMPA), Tammi Jonas, who was present at the council meeting, "The University will undertake an investigation of co-operative student housing to address homelessness amongst students."
SHAC member Liz Turner said, "The SHAC co-operative is taking direct action to address the real need for low cost student housing. We are acting for ourselves and for our fellow students who are in stressful housing situations.
"The students living at Faraday street have been putting the co-operative model into practice for the last two weeks. Students will continue to make Faraday street their home. Most people support what we are doing because they are aware of the lack of affordable accommodation."
The Faraday street terraces have now been transformed into safe, secure, clean and warm living environments. The students have made improvements to the premises and have implemented health and safety procedures with the support of unions. SHAC has also provided free breakfasts and dinners for students and others in the local area.
For comment contact:
Tammi Jonas, President UMPA, 0422 429 362
Liz Turner, SHAC, 0402 657 392