Figures show fewer homeless but organisations warn of hidden problem


Fewer people were registered homeless in the Netherlands last year, with a steep drop in the under-27 age group, according to latest figures.

The statistics agency CBS said 32,000 people were officially classed as homeless on January 1, a drop of 4,00 in the previous 12 months and down from 39,300 at the start of 2018.

The figures do not include homeless people over the age of 65, immigrants without official papers and people with no fixed abode, who are registered as living with friends or family but move between several addresses.

Valente, the organisation for providers of hostel accommodation, said the sector was under pressure because of the large number of ‘invisible homeless’ people in the Netherlands.

‘The accommodation is oversubscribed,’ a spokesperson told NOS. ‘Without exception accommodation providers are reporting a constant stream of people at the door because they have no roof over their heads.’

The numbers also show migrants with a so-called ‘non-western’ background now make up 50% of the total, compared to 36% in 2009, when there were 17,800 homeless people altogether.

The proportion of native Dutch people living on the streets has shrunk from 54% to 40% in the same period, while around 10% are classed as ‘western’ migrants.

Men account for 84% of all homeless people, while one-third live in one of the four major cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.

Young people aged between 18 and 27 made up 23% of the total, compared to 35% in 2016, while the proportion of over-50s increased from 16% to 20%.

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