Our volunteers regularly come into contact with people for whom personal circumstances, housing insecurity and Kafkaesque bureaucracy form an explosive mix. This also applies to Sjerp from Amsterdam, who came into contact with BPW Amsterdam. Here is his personal story.
My name is Sherp. I am divorced and have incurred high attorney fees. I am now alone in a house where I can no longer pay the sky-high fixed costs. I am broke and in dire need of an affordable home. A social rental home seems to be the solution. After all, I've been registered for 14 years.
In consultation with housing network I correct my data. Unfortunately the first houses I viewed were of poor quality, too small and all too expensive: Top prices for chicken coops! My chances are diminishing because of my rejections. I have to accept something now.
Then there is a house on the Reigersbergenstraat in Amsterdam and I come in first position. Viewing is not possible, despite insistence. Accepting a 100-year-old house based on a YouTube video, what fool would do that? This crazy. Bye dignity! I have to get out of here.
Housing association Ymere requires a huge amount of proof so that they are assured that I will be a good tenant. And they want it quickly, otherwise the deal will not go through. I deliver everything in two batches and have some contact with them. After that I hear nothing more. Then I start calling. But no matter how many times I call, I never get a person in charge on the line.
The day before the deadline, one of the operators assures me: “Sir, everything is fine. You can come and sign the contract. This is how the system works, for years. Everything will be fine".
The great Ymere indexation exchange trick
The next day an employee of Ymere calls. My income is too high. They indexed my 2020 unemployment benefit statement (ed. adjusted for inflation). It's just black before my eyes. I'm asking that one question, which I still haven't gotten an answer to: "Why are you indexing my income?" The answer: “Because it is legal”. This answer doesn't work for me. However, this is the only answer I get. “Indexation from 2020 to 2020?”. I also gasp that I do not agree and object. The great Ymere indexation exchange trick.
What follows is a passionate back and forth calling and e-mailing with authorities: It Legal Counter, Foundation !WOON Stichting, …. everyone I speak to who takes a look at it agrees with me. I've documented everything. The bottom line is that the burden of proof is piling up in my favor. The burden of proof is relentlessly fired at Ymere from all sides. In Article 56 of the Decree on admitted institutions for public housing 2015 it is quite clear that my last unemployment statement should not be indexed.
In the end I find a lawyer willing to assist me. He also does not get a response or a decent answer. The courts also appear to be in no hurry to resolve the case. My lawsuit against Ymere can wait until February 24th. And so Ymere manages to create fait accomplis by not answering and training.
The !WOON Foundation also receives an oral answer. My income is indexed because it went from December to January. That is also not in the law. A child can see what goes wrong here: They index my income, but not the income limit. What kind of games are these? It's the great Ymere indexation swap trick.
I do know one thing. I want to destroy this worthless housing system and all the policies surrounding it. That powerlessness towards housing corporations is worthless. This must be different. I join the Bond Precaire Woonvorm. Sjerp has a lawyer in hand. Today (24 February 2021) the lawsuit against Ymere will be filed.