Guaranteed Housing for Foreign Guests in 2001
TU/e is seeking "creative solutions" to problems
with housing an increasing foreign staff and student population,
says Board of Executives secretary ir. Harry Roumen. Next year
all foreign guests will be guaranteed suitable housing. This year
the number of foreign guests at TU/e went up by 20 per cent, while
no extra housing was available.
BIA (Bureau of International Activities) and the Board of Executives
have been working on a deal with housing corporation Vestide,
the owner of Fellotel, to guarantee foreign guests suitable housing.
Although they are still working on details, both parties say they
expect to sign the contract before the end of the year. "While
implementation of the deal will start in January, the full guarantee
can probably only be given to foreign guests in the next Academic
Year," states BIA director Leo Robben.
"We would also like to build our own housing on campus, although
I'm not yet free to say where," says Roumen. "However,
this all depends on whether we can get the necessary permits from
the city of Eindhoven. The Board of Executives will be talking
to local authorities about this and other matters next week."
The problem with this idea is the fact that city planners have
labelled TU/e as an industrial estate. Therefore, permits for
housing will not be easy to obtain. Also, various labs may have
to take extra safety precautions if people are living in the vicinity.
At the moment, foreign guests at TU/e are often housed at Fellotel.
However, this building consists of 131 apartments, not enough
for an average of 600 guests and a total of 500 new guest this
year. So guests are asked to find their own housing after half
a year to make room for new people. With a housing shortage in
Eindhoven, this is usually difficult, although BIA always helps.
Many guests with a limited budget find this stipulation stressful
while settling in at a new job or course. The average stay at
TU/e is a year, but graduate students and post-docs stay for two
to four years.
"Good accommodation is an absolute condition if you want
people to function properly, we understand that," says Frank
Huijnk from Vestide. "It will be a real challenge to set
up adequate facilities. I don't foresee any problems in obtaining
enough housing, but we must also make sure that we are offering
the right housing. We want to give foreign guests at TU/e the
accommodation they need from the moment they arrive. Hopefully,
in the future it will not be necessary for people to move after
half a year."
At the moment, BIA looks after housing for most foreign guests.
BIA's housing co-ordinator Henny Keuker says she has never had
to evict foreign guests from Fellotel, but she has definitely
had a difficult year. "Sometimes we have been able to extend
contracts by two months or so, in other cases we managed to find
rooms or other apartments." The responsibility for housing
foreign guests will be transferred to or shared with Vestide in
"The difficulty for Vestide will be with annual high and
low seasons. They probably don't want their apartments to be empty
in summer. They need to cover this financially, while keeping
rents affordable. So we're still talking about the height of future
rents," says BIA director Robben. "On the other hand,
this contract is definitely attractive for Vestide as well as
for us so we should be able to work it out together."/.