Poorer neighborhoods deteriorating further, housing corporations warn

Social housing in Ypenburg, The Hague
Social housing in Ypenburg, The HagueCreativeNatureDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

The quality of life in neighborhood with many housing corporation homes is declining more rapidly than expected, according to research by Aedes, the association of housing corporations. Local residents feel more unsafe, report more problems, and the solutions to those problems are becoming more complicated, the study showed. "If we do not intervene now, many neighborhoods are about to become disadvantaged," Aedes board member Hester van Buren said to RTL Nieuws. 

Aedes repeated a study they did in 2018 into the quality of life in neighborhoods. The researchers found that neighborhoods that were already struggling, became weaker over the past years.

According to the researchers, tenants in the social housing sector struggle with self-reliance. There is more poverty in this sector, which affects education. Schools in neighborhoods where people live below the poverty line have relatively more drop-outs. Residents also feel more unsafe in these neighborhoods. 

"It has become even worse because more vulnerable people from social care look for an independent home and people who earn a little more leave poorer neighborhoods as quickly as possible," Van Buren said. 

The housing corporations would like to keep people with mid-level incomes in the poorer neighborhoods, but that is difficult. "Since the new housing law, we can only house the lowest incomes, not the middle incomes. Mixed neighborhoods are strong neighborhoods, but because the people who make a little more money leave immediately, only the vulnerable groups are left."

Housing corporations call on the central government and local governments to intervene. "The municipalities must take the lead. Plasters no longer make sense. There must be an integrated approach. Such as investing in education and work and not chasing middle incomes away from the neighborhoods," Van Buren said to the broadcaster.

The corporations want the government to abolish the market test so that they can build homes for people with mid-level incomes in neighborhoods that have many social rental properties. They also want to focus more on spreading vulnerable people over various neighborhoods. Vulnerable people should also receive better care and guidance, Van Buren said.