Expatica news

Plan to move anti-social families to iron huts

3 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — Anti-social families that cause extreme unrest should be temporarily moved to purpose-built corrugated iron housing complexes to combat city disturbances, the Amsterdam North local council has proposed.

Christian Democrat CDA district chairman John Geelof, one of the initiators of the plan, could not confirm how many families the proposal would affect, but estimated that four to five container-type homes would suffice initially.

“This is about guided living that must eventually help families to return,” he told news agency ANP on Monday.

Geelof said the project would be aimed at families that were increasingly causing disturbances and have already had a long history of social work assistance. Such families have been hunted by authorities from one city district to another.

Problem families have thus the choice of ending up on the street or of accepting the offer. Geelof is openly positive that the families will accept the relocation.

He said tension in several Amsterdam North suburbs had intensified so much that unliveable situations had developed. In many cases, alcohol and drug abuse played a role, Dutch public news service NOS reported.

The families at risk of relocation are allegedly responsible over a long period time of causing noise pollution and or problems relating to foul smells. Residents have been intimidated and reasonable negotiations with the families have not met with success.

“We must do something,” Geelof said.

He said the container homes would be made out of corrugated iron and due to the fact that past experience has taught the authorities that the interior of such homes is often damaged, kitchen sinks, for example, will be bricked in.

Defending the plan, he claimed there was no alternative to guided living. He also said police, the judiciary, the city district council, housing corporations and social work groups would be involved in the project.

Furthermore, he said surrounding residents should be protected against continued unrest because more and more people were moving away due to the problems that several families cause.

Geelof promised that “comfortable” homes would be made available to the problem families and that there was sufficient room in the old industrial complex in Amsterdam North to accommodate the families.

As example, he gave the successful initiative employed in the central city Kampen, where five container homes were used in the 1990s. Problem families could eventually function normally again in that community, Geelof said

The container plan is part of a series of proposals to combat unrest in Amsterdam North and Geelof said it could be several months before the district council took a decision to accept or reject the proposal.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news