Amsterdam gives kids clothing vouchers in poverty fight

The municipality of Amsterdam will give 6500 teenagers living in poverty in the city €150 in clothing vouchers. A €90 allowance will also be made available for these disenfranchised youths to take courses in the areas of sport, art and culture. 

Freek Ossel, alderman for Poverty, made the announcement today that he has received support from the city for the plan. Before the start of the new school year, these young people will be offered the so-called child package. The package also includes a €20 voucher for climbing or canoeing in the Amsterdam forest.

The funds to make this plan available comes from extra money reserved for counter-poverty actions. In total, €1.9 million will be spent on the child package, which will come on top of the existing regulations for households with a minimum income. Children between 11 and 13 years old are eligible for the package.

The municipality is doing this in reaction to the call from the Children's ombudsman for more attention and support for children of minimum income households. In a report, the ombudsman shows that children growing up in poverty strive to "fit in", but do not have the resources to do so. Often, fitting in involves having certain clothes or doing certain activities, which costs money that these households don't always have to spend.