Because landlords, real estate agencies and governments have worked to increase rents in Melbourne and make it as hard as possible for those on low incomes (such as students) to live, and because universities (such as U of Melbourne) have worked to bleed cash from as many international students as possible, while tossing them to the mercy of predatory landlords in the surrounding area, a group of students have taken over the vacant premises at 272-8 Faraday Street in Carlton and turned it into a student-run co-operative housing project.
This is an abandoned building owned by the university, that has been sitting there – empty – since the counseling service was moved out in 2005. The occupying students have apparently brought the building up to health and safety standards and intend to turn it into a permanent student housing co-operative. They run free vegan food nights on Mondays and barbeques on Friday evenings. They’re trying to set up skills sharing workshops, so if you have some useful skills/training to impart and are willing to do some volunteer training, they’ll probably be happy to meet you.
You can find them online here:
Student Housing Action Co-operative blog
SHAC Petition to “University of Melbourne Council”
Not tomorrow, but the next Friday, the University has told them to leave the otherwise empty property. So Friday the 28th November will be a rally from 12-2pm. If you can get down there and want to show your support for this sort of initiative, i’ll probably see you there. (Video cameras might also be an excellent thing to bring along if you have one, in case the University tries to waste the police’s time by calling them in to restore the property to it’s empty, useless state.)