Danes contain a problem

August 24, 2001

First-year students from the Copenhagen area may be offered temporary accommodation in containers.

A proposal from the opposition Centre Democrats to use container homes used by construction workers and refugees has been well received by the government.

After initially supporting the proposal, student organisations retreated slightly. They fear temporary homes might relax the pressure for a permanent solution to rising student homelessness.

However, Susanne Clemensen, education spokeswoman for the Centre Democrats, disagreed. "Containers will attract so much attention that they're unlikely to take the student housing problem off the agenda," she said.

Waiting lists for student accommodation have grown steadily since Copenhagen stopped building it in 1996. The city has rejected a variety of options, including housing students in redundant passenger ferries.

Although more than 7,000 students are registered as seeking accommodation, no one knows how many of them have no place to stay at all.

"This cuts both ways," Ms Clemensen said. "If students don't want to live in a container there will be an argument to question the urgency of the housing problem."

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