“Last week, fellow councillor Thomas van Halm (SP) and I visited Stochemhoeve campsite in Cronesteyn Park”, Maarten de Crom, councillor for the VVD party, says.
“Last year, Mare featured an article on students who couldn’t find anywhere to stay and were forced to live in tents. We went to see for ourselves and afterwards, at a council meeting, we asked alderman Fleur Spijker to arrange some temporary housing. She refused to help out, as she believed things would be better this year.
“We wanted to make sure they had improved and went to check it out. Nothing has changed, students are still living in tents. The campsite will remain open longer than usual, another month (until 31 October), mainly for these students, like last year.”
The councillors found both international and Dutch students living on the campsite.
“The owner of the campsite told us there were about nine students there. There have been quite a few cloudbursts recently; imagine having to creep into a little plastic tent after a day of studying.”
De Crom worries because “no emergency measures have been taken this year either” in Leiden.
“Other towns have seen to it: they’ve arranged emergency housing. We’ll being asking the alderman about this matter on Tuesday. How can it happen again in Leiden? Why isn’t there any emergency accommodation? We can’t allow a situation like this: a proud student city leaves students to cope for themselves in tents yet again. It’s indefensible.
“We want to ask the mayor and aldermen whether they can arrange temporary housing very soon, something along the line of those living units that only take a few days or weeks to put up. There are some spots in town where we can put them. What about the Werninkterrein? Nothing’s happening there right now.”
The university has a part in this matter too, according to De Crom.
“The university is expanding, but that growth comes with a responsibility for proper housing for its students. If DUWO, the university and the municipal authorities team up, a short-term solution can be found, like the Werninkterrein, for example.”