Hundreds of homeless refused help by councils

Hundreds of homeless people are being dumped on the streets each year because councils refuse to help them even though the law says they must be given at least temporary bed and food.

The Trimbos addiction institute sent ‘mystery guests’ onto the streets to find out if the law was being followed. The information was requested by junior health minister Martin van Rijn, who presented it to parliament on Monday.

Legally, councils are obliged to provide bed and food to any homeless person regardless of where they are registered. In practice, Trimbos discovered, seven out of ten requests for help are refused by councils to someone from outside their region.

Trimbos says 70% of councils say they help people from other regions, but the ‘mystery guests’ found that just 25% of the councils they visited kept to the law. The others refused help to those registered elsewhere.

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