10,000 more beds for the homeless
21 February 2005 , AMSTERDAM — The Liberal VVD and Labour PvdA parties are devising a plan that will offer 10,000 more beds to the nation's homeless and improve social welfare services.
21 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — The Liberal VVD and Labour PvdA parties are devising a plan that will offer 10,000 more beds to the nation's homeless and improve social welfare services.
MPs Jelleke van Veenendaal and Co Verdaas claim that their plan — which will be finalised in the summer — will not cost taxpayers much more than current programmes.
The proposal also provides authorities with the power to forcibly remove homeless people from city streets. Currently, homeless people can only be moved if they form a threat to themselves or to others, or in emergencies.
In contrast to existing regulations, former prisoners will also be able to use homeless shelters. "Ex-delinquents will get a roof over their head to help them re-enter society," Liberal MP Van Veenendaal said.
Verdaas and Van Veenendaal said existing barriers between police and social welfare bodies sharing information should be removed, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
The two MPs drew up the plan during a visit to Britain, where the Labour Government has implemented a series of measures in recent years to combat problems associated with the homeless, news service NOS reported.
"Housing corporations really want to build houses for these people. And there are already many welfare organisations who are very willing to co-operate. It is definitely not a well-oiled machine yet," Van Veenendaal said.
The proposal is expected to be finalised in the summer and the Lower House of Parliament will vote on the matter in autumn.
The exact number of homeless people is not known, but the Salvation Army (Het Leger des Heils) gave assistance to 21,000 homeless people in 2003. Many homeless seek shelter at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and train stations.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news