Housing corporations sound alarm over ‘care in the community’
One in three housing corporations say they are experiencing more problems with difficult or troubled tenants since the government began decentralising mental health services and encouraging ‘care in the community’.
Housing umbrella group Aedes estimates there were 2,000 serious incidents over the past year, ranging from arson, explosions and attacks on neighbours or housing workers. More than half the country’s 363 housing corporations took part in the survey.
Noise is also a particular problem where tenants with mental health issues are concerned, the survey showed.
The cabinet’s policy has led to more people with psychiatric issues becoming ‘isolated and alienated’, Aedes said. Almost a quarter of housing corporations have noted a major rise in nuisance and 50% report a slight rise.
Earlier this year, the police and the Salvation Army sounded the alarm about the impact of the new strategy. That lead health minister Edith Schippers to set up a special team to assess the size of the problem and suggest solutions.
Aedes board member René Scherpenisse said the cuts in psychiatric services are naïve. ‘It is naïve to think you can shut down units and that people can live in the community without any guidance,’ Scherpenisse said. ‘The government is making extreme demands on others to solve the problems.’