Dutch gov't, municipalities must do more to fight homelessness: Advisory council

A man sitting on an Amsterdam street with a dog on top of their sleeping bag
A man sitting on an Amsterdam street with a dog on top of their sleeping bag. Mar. 27, 2016bellenaDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

The Dutch State and municipalities are not doing enough to tackle homelessness, the council for public health and society RVS said in a report titled 'Recovery begins with a home' presented to State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health on Tuesday. According to RVS, the situation requires a structurally different approach, also in view of the coronavirus crisis, NOS reports.

Last year Statistics Netherlands reported that the number of homeless people in the Netherlands more than doubled from 17,800 to 39,300 between 2009 and 2019. The increase was particularly visible among young people, and people with a non-Western background.

According to the RVS, the group of homeless people in the Netherlands has become more diverse, and the government's policy and assistance does not take sufficient account of that. More should be done to help these people, and this starts with improving coordination between different Ministries. 

The Council thinks the government should focus more on creating temporary housing in existing buildings, like vacant office buildings. A more flexible approach is needed to the so-called cost-sharing standard, in which social assistance benefits are reduced when someone lives with another adult. 

According to the Council, these measures are possible within existing laws and regulations.