The government announced a new approach to tackling homelessness in the Netherlands, focused on housing, help with financial problems, and input from experts by experience. The Cabinet will push an additional 65 million euros per year into helping people who have become or threaten to become homeless, State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen of Public Health and Ministers Hugo de Jonge for Public Housing and Carola Schouten for Social Affairs announced.
“It is a fundamental right that the government must provide adequate housing,” said Van Ooijen. “The previous Cabinet made a good start. Now, together with my colleagues, I will take the next step, which is structural in nature. Someone who is homeless should not end up in a homeless shelter, but we will provide a home as soon as possible.”
According to the involved Cabinet members, it is known that homeless shelters do not promote recovery. “In almost all cases, homeless people who stay in shelters are better off having their own place to live.” The government will therefore commit to creating extra living spaces for people who are homeless or risk becoming homeless. De Jonge paid specific attention to this in his “a home for everyone” plan, and municipalities will include the need for housing, care, and guidance in their residential care vision.
The new approach also focuses on prevention. The Ministries of Public Health and Social Affairs will work together to quickly identify debt and health problems, as they could result in homelessness. “It is important that these people receive the right support quickly. Getting there early and ensuring that problems don’t get worse should prevent people from enduring up in the street.”
The government will work with government partners, municipalities, housing associations, care providers, interest groups, scientists, experts by experience, and other relevant partners on tackling homelessness, the Cabinet members said.