The Hague sees "explosive" growth in homeless families

Homeless mother and child
Homeless mother and childPhoto: IgorStrukov/DepositPhotos

The number of homeless families in The Hague increased enormously since 2015, according to figures from the municipality. Family shelters are completely full, which means that more and more appeals have to be made to hotels to take in families with nowhere to go, Omroep West reports.

Last year 292 families applied for social shelter, compared to 172 in 2015, responsible alderman Bert van Alphen said in a letter to the city council. In the first quarter of this year, 91 families reported that they are homeless or expect to become homeless in the short term. "If this trend continues, we will have around 350 reports this year", Van Alphen said, according to the broadcaster. "An explosive increase."

The target group for emergency shelter is changing, according to the alderman. "The homeless are not alone, or mainly drifters or addicts: it can also happen to you or me", Van Alphen said in his letter. Though the number of single homeless people is also increasing, according to the number night shelter passes issued. In 2015 a total of 767 such passes were issued, last year there were 1,062. 

Despite the figures, Van Alphen believes that The Hague has made great strides towards improving the care and support of the growing number of homeless people in the city. 86 new shelters were opened last year. And the shelters are increasingly small-scale with a higher quality of reception, he said.

"But there is still much to do in the coming years", Van Alphen added. "The support of people in different areas of life needs to be further developed. The prevention of homelessness needs to be given even more attention. The large shortage of houses for this group of Hague residents is top priority. Expansion of the social housing stock and more room for living experiments are also extremely necessary to prevent shelters clogging up."