In 2021, shelter for the homeless in Eindhoven was reorganised. Springplank040 became responsible for the entire process that the homeless go through. This new approach should provide the organization with a better insight into the problems in Eindhoven.
Because Springplank is now responsible for the entire process in Eindhoven, but also because Corona forced more homeless people into shelters, problems have become clearer. And that new clarity came as a shock to Springplank. “About one in three homeless people are young adults. That had us seriously worried, which is why we are now setting up a team that focuses exclusively on this target group. That is necessary because young adults have needs than people in older target groups,” says Springboard director Thijs Eradus.
“Our new approach lends more insight into the exact nature of the problems. The analysis shows that the group of young adults is bizarrely high. We already saw these signs, but the figures now confirm this.”
Coordination and cooperation
“That is why te creation of one team should lead to better results”, says Eradus. “Before, we had our own approach, Neos had its own approach and the Salvation Army also worked for the same target group. Now we can work in a more coordinated way and we can also enter into partnerships, for example with housing corporations, educational institutions, perhaps also with employers and with the municipality.”
Support for young people
“Young adults simply have less income,” Eradus continues. “This means that they have fewer opportunities to find a house. They often lack parental support, so we have to play a role here. This also applies to the target group with the most complex problems. Fortunately, this is also the smallest target group.”
‘More people than expected’
“We can be very satisfied with the first year,” says Springboard director Thijs Eradus. “A large group of people is currently making use of the basic care facilities. More than we expected. I think that is because we have become more accessible. We are happy with that, but at the same time it is worrying to see that apparently more people are in need of help.”
According to Geesje Liebregts, director of the Eindhoven branch of Springplank, this also has to do with corona. “The positive side is that we have more people in the picture. As unpleasant as corona is, it did cause more people to come to us. As a result, we now know more about what problems the homeless have, which is positive.”
Revolving door group
“We call this the ‘revolving door group’, people who are likely to return more than once”, says Liebregts.
“We are now working on a trial in which we do not let go. So even though you may sometimes lose a place to live or leave a basic facility, we always welcome you back. We gain trust by standing by their side. Because things can go wrong, and they often do with this target group. But the strength of our social workers lies in achieving small successes, as a result of which the target group feels better supported and is more likely to call on us when necessary.”
A target group that can count on much less support is migrant workers from Eastern Europe when they become homeless. We have less to offer them, Eradus reports. “That remains a problem. The winter emergency shelter, which is also open to this target group, is used frequently. But we must be critical of whom we let in. We need a national policy on this because if we provide shelter, all Eastern Europeans from all over the Netherlands will come to Eindhoven.”
Moreover, it is often difficult to interact with the labour migrants. “There is a language barrier, and some have complex problems. Besides, we are not allowed to offer care but we cannot ignore their presence. In fact, their number is growing,” says Liebregts.
“The current policy is that everyone can get a place to sleep for one night. After that, they are referred to another institution, if necessary. Or new work is found for them. Because what often happens is that work comes with accomodation, but when the work stops they lose the accomodation as well”, Liebregts explains .
“That is also where it often goes wrong,” says Eradus. “So it is important to find new work or they are able to return to their country of origin. But without a national policy we cannot solve the problem and neither can the municipality. Ultimately, a solution will have to come from The Hague.”
Translated by: Anitha Sevugan