The shortage of affordable housing for students in Amsterdam could be solved by setting up projects where students live with ex-cons, refugees and the elderly, according to D66 councillors.
The party plans to submit a motion to the city council calling for further research on shared housing for students and other vulnerable groups, the Parool reported on Monday. The students would get a place to live in return for carrying out simple care or other duties alongside professionals.
A similar project already exists in Denmark, where students share a hostel with people nearing the end of a prison term, the paper points out. Dutch anthropologist Nienke de Haan lived there for three months and told the Correspondent earlier this year: ‘This is where ex-cons learn to live with ordinary people and leave their criminal identity behind them.’
The Danish project, known as Skejby, has led to a 21% fall in reoffending rates and D66 councillor Reinier van Dantzig hopes for similar results in Amsterdam. In particular, young ex-cons could benefit from being around students, he told the paper.
D66, the biggest party in Amsterdam, earlier suggested converting the Bijlmerbajes prison – one of 26 earmarked for closure – into student accommodation.
According to the national student union LSVb, there is a shortage of accommodation for up to 10,000 students this academic year in the Dutch capital.
In Eindhoven, a project is under way where students share housing with refugees and in Amsterdam, empty rooms in the city centre St Jacob nursing home are also being lived in by students.
However, that project hit the headlines earlier this year when there were claims that the students were being pressured to ‘volunteer’ to work excessive hours in the home in return for their room.
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