Homeless total tops 30,000, increase is worrying says minister

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Some 30,600 adults of working age in the Netherlands are currently homeless, a rise of some 4,000 on a year ago, national statistics agency CBS said on Tuesday.

The rise last year reverses a downward trend that began in 2018, the CBS said. In particular, there has been an increase in the number of homeless people from Eastern Europe, who now account for 8% of the total, rather than 5%. 

They often find themselves with no where to live when a temporary employment contract ends because staffing agencies are still linking jobs to accommodation.

Eight in 10 people classified as homeless are male and 36% of them are registered in the four big cities of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Four in five of the homeless people in the four cities have foreign roots, compared with 55% in the rest of the country. 

“I would expect the war in Ukraine, high inflation and the housing market problems to now be reflected in the figures,” junior social affairs minister Maarten van Ooijen told broadcaster NOS in a reaction. “The new figures are worrying.”

The figures include people who sleep outdoors or in a car, in squats, holiday homes and who visit emergency shelters, as well as people who are staying temporarily with friends and family because they have nowhere to live.   

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