Quality of life deteriorating in poor neighborhoods: housing associations

Social housing in Hoofddorp
Social housing in Hoofddorp. Photo: A.Bakker / Wikimedia Commons

The quality of life in neighborhoods with many social rental housing is quickly deteriorating due to the many problem tenants that live there, says the branch association for housing corporations Aedes based by a study by Rigo Research en Advies, RTL Nieuws reports.

According to Aedes, problem tenants include addicts, people with financial problems, and people with psychological problems who end up in social housing due to the government's allocation rules. The problems occur in about 10 percent of Dutch residential neighborhoods, especially in neighborhoods with two-thirds or more social housing.

Around 780 thousand homes are located in these neighborhood with 1.5 million residents. Psychological problems are four times as high here as in neighborhoods without cheap housing, according to the researchers. These neighborhoods also have 9 percent more aggression and 15 percent more nuisance reports than average. 

Aedes chairman Marnix Norder thinks that the government's social housing allocation rules must be adjusted so that housing corporations can better distribute problem tenants over municipalities. "We have to allocate properly now", he said to RTL. "That is to say that people with low incomes also get the cheapest houses. If nothing changes, I fear that many of these neighborhoods can turn into no go areas. Places where people prefer not to go when it gets dark."

According to Norder, it is not too late to intervene. In addition to distributing problem tenants more evenly, he also calls for more intensive guidance from care providers. "Municipalities and institutions have a task there. We as corporations can identify problems, but can not solve them."

"Ultimately there has to be more variety in the problem areas through restructuring between cheap housing and more expensive houses", Norder said to the broadcaster. "Then you'll also get a more varied population. Neighborhoods where that already happened are doing well. I know one thing for sure: Doing nothing is not an option. Then you'll get neighborhoods where you only live if you have no other choice. Neighborhoods where you have to live, and not where you want to live."

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