A National Body of Student Housing Co-operatives is needed to grow student housing co-operatives nationwide and address core issues of students: cost, quality and accountability. Through the work of Students for Cooperation, who represent all student led co-operatives, we have managed to help support the creation and growth of Edinburgh, Birmingham and Sheffield student housing co-operatives.
This has been through commercial leases from supportive organisations like the Phone Co-op and Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association. This model, however, is not immediately replicable nationwide and we need the capacity to purchase our own properties so that we can scale up to larger properties and other cities around the UK.
That is what the National Body will facilitate for us, our capacity to raise finances to acquire capital on an ever-larger scale. It will let us break the cycle the student housing market is in of ever raising rents for poor quality accommodation.
Students for co-operation have applied to the Aviva Community Fund to support their expansion plans. You can learn more and vote for their bid here:Click to support the Students for Co-operation bid
We can then address the cost of living for students, a massive issue with maintenance loans in some places being outstripped by the costs of accommodation. Alongside addressing poor quality of accommodation in the private rental sector that is making students both physically and mentally unwell.
We want to grow the true alternative to the current status quo and show that co-operatives and co-operative principles are the way forward to benefit not just students but the wider community.
We don’t need landlords, WE can be the landlords and we can do it more cost effectively, accessibly and democratically.