New homeless initiative in Eindhoven

Oliver's room Photo Credit: Rogier van Son

Helma, a 59-year-old resident of Eindhoven, has opened up her home to a homeless individual. Oliver, the person whom she welcomed, will reside with her as of next month. Helma is the first participant in a new initiative in Eindhoven called ‘Onder de Pannen’, which aims to pair homeless individuals with temporary housing providers.

Following a thorough screening process, a suitable match was found between Helma and Oliver, 33. Oliver now rents two rooms within Helma’s residence.


Helma, who has personal experience with homelessness, understands the challenges involved. “Because of a divorce, I left home. I couldn’t find a place to live, but I was able to move in with friends. It is important that you have somewhere to go in such a hectic phase of life and that you have the time and space to look for accommodation.”

She is going to help Oliver who is now in the same situation. His relationship ended. He ended up on the street. First, Helma and Oliver met a number of times. For Helma, that was the deciding factor. “We first met at the office. That was a good introduction. Then at my house. Each time there was also time for reflection. It felt good. It has to: you are going to share your home after all.”

“It is a basic need: your own, safe place.”

Oliver Pasemko has been sleeping on the couch of various acquaintances for the last three months. “A few days here. A week there.” He works thirty hours a week as a physiotherapist but has not been registered long enough for social housing. Renting privately is unaffordable and buying a house is impossible for him as a single person.

“I am very happy that I have a permanent place to live for a year. I now have some stability. It is a basic need: your own, safe place.”

The situation is also new to him. Next month, he will move into Helma’s place. The lease was signed this week. “It clicked with Helma. She seems like an open, friendly person. On the other hand, I will have to conform to someone’s rules again. I still find it exciting though.”

“I expect that we can share the living space in a good way.”

The scheme allows him to rent from Helma for a maximum of one year. It gives him time to find his own place. The landlord may ask between 280 and 480 euros for a room, including gas, water and electricity.

Thousands of homeless people in Eindhoven are known to the municipality or aid organisation Springplank. Five individuals have already offered to rent a room to a homeless person.

Mediation if necessary

Helma is happy that there is an organisation behind it that can intervene if necessary. “It is a very well supported initiative. You don’t have to come up with and do everything yourself. WIJ Eindhoven is ultimately responsible, carry out a screening and mediate in the event of a potential conflict.

“It’s nice to try new things. If I don’t like it, I won’t do it anymore. I expect that we will be able to share the living space in a good way. It’s cosy to have someone in the house and to be able to help someone out.”

Oliver hopes for one thing above all. “That I can feel at home. We will see how it goes.”

Source: Omroep Brabant
Translated by: Yawar Abbas

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