The number of homeless and homeless young people has increased in the last reign. Year after year the number increases: according to the latest estimates of the Central Statistics Bureau, the Netherlands has about 9400 homeless and homeless young people aged between 18 and 27.
Half of them stay in the four major cities. National and municipal authorities are struggling with how to help the growing number of young people without a future and without a roof over their heads.
Athicha got homeless when she was 17. She told her story today to Queen Máxima and Secretary of State Blokhuis:
The legal rules are strict: young people without a permanent address and without work or training are not given money to pay for a house and groceries. The idea behind it is to encourage them to follow an education or to start working.
But not all young people can do that. Anyone who has a home, but does not have work or training and is under 21, will receive 265 euros per month. No income so that you can live from and pay an education from. Anyone who finds shelter temporarily with a family member or elsewhere will encounter another problem: the allowance of the person providing accommodation will be reduced.
Terribly vulnerable youth
Municipalities now believe that they have found something to get more young people on the run: apply rules on welfare benefits for those who are at risk of entering the streets less stringent. In the long term, they even think they can save money by saving young people long aid routes if they have a home and a job earlier. The demissionary cabinet provides €200 million to help municipalities with projects.
Secretary of State Blokhuis tells DeccEit that he hopes that municipalities will really think “out of the box”. “Its about terribly vulnerable young people.” For example, he thinks of temporarily increasing a benefit or helping with a postal address. “If you sell no all the young people who need a mailing address, dont be surprised that there are now about 10,000 homeless young people out there,” says Blokhuis.
“ Municipalities have the freedom to deal with solutions in this way,” says Blokhuis. But municipalities, in turn, say that this is not so simple.
Traumas and mental problems
Today, together with Queen Máxima, Blokhuis visited online Spaarnezicht in Haarlem, where they guide young people, among other things, by linking them to a so-called youth director, who helps them with the search for an education or work.
Young people showed their place of residence to the Queen and Secretary of State. They also told us what problems they all face. Like 17-year-old Athicha, who was at MBO when she was evicted. She couldnt finish school, shes homeless, shes struggling with trauma and mental problems.
On Spaarnezicht, she is temporarily given a place to stay and is supervised in the search for training or work. The Queen wanted to know from her how things are now. Athicha told me that she can think carefully about a future again, looking for something to hold.
Reducing to zero
Fourteen municipalities have indicated that they want to participate in projects. They endorse the objective of reducing the number of homeless young people to zero by the end of the year. On Monday, the Chamber will talk about the problems and it seems that a majority of the House will also want to change the strict rules.
The SP prefers to abolish the cost sharing standard altogether, but there is no majority in favour of that. Therefore, the party comes with a motion to abolish the cost sharing standard for up to 27 years.