The Swedish biggest medical student union woke up form an apparent long snooze and decided to do something drastic to help its fellows: camp!

From this monday (September 3) Medicinska Föreningen (MF) set up a tent camp in front of its offices to rise the voice of thousands of homeless students that need a place to stay in Stockholm.

MF welcomes anyone to join the cause and to bring a tent. The student union is willing to provide “sanitary facilities, community [and the] open union house”. Their political action is very clear: on one side they hope to host people that need a place to stay (regardless the scary 14°C average registered this week), and on the other side to catch media and political attention.

Talking about political attention, last month the housing minister Stefan Attefall said that support the building of new apartments “is not necessarily the best answer” to address the biggest Stockholm’s student housing crisis ever registered, TheLocal says.

Stefan Attefall

The Facebook page of this MF initiative states that of 80.000 students in Stockholm, only 12.500 has the fortune to get into a student flat. And not so easily: to gain the right to rent in Stockholm, you need to stand queues 2-3 years long. Moreover, recent rule modifications allow you to start the line only if you are already a registered member of a student union.

It is worth notice that  to get your student union membership you have to be registered in any University in Sweden. Considering that a student in average stays 2 years to get a Master Degree, you do the math…

“The students that come here have a hard time finding a place to stay” MF says. Often (especially foreigner) are victim of frauds or are paying an insane amount of money for a second-sencond-second rented flat.

It must be said that the house crisis in Stockholm do not concern only students: rent a house or buy a flat is quite a job for anyone in this town, essentially due to a non-liberal house market (<– point on which I am open for discussion!)

MF idea, though, is not new. The very same initiative was taken 2 years ago by Stockholm University, for the very same reasons: “Some students are absolutely desperate for housing”, the website says.

Medicinska Föreningen haven’t stopped to surprise me. The Union changed significantly since 1 year ago complains waved that MF was not equally open to non-swedish speakers as it was for locals. MF has clearly got the message, and it seems it is taking the right political path, that stand more for the needs of students then organizing pubs. Part of the merit goes to the newly appointed head of MF, Johan Hilm (MD student) who’s striving to give the Union a better shape.

At the moment, only two tents are present in the camp, along with a common big top. I really sympathize for this MF initiative: WELL DONE guys! Tomorrow, I’ll bring my tent.

Thanks Laura and Kelly for feedbacks on this post

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