Update actions BPW The Hague for housing and financial security Jelena

On August 25 we gathered in front of the city hall of The Hague for Jelena. She becomes homeless because the municipality wrongly stopped her benefits, meaning she could no longer pay the rent. BPW The Hague took action and organized a well-attended solidarity action where we wanted to make our demands for housing and social security clear to Alderman Vavier and Alderman Balster. A lot has happened in the meantime. We will update you on Jelena's situation, whether our demands have already been met and what else we have done to put pressure on the councilors involved.

Read what preceded this action in the article 'BPW DEMANDS LIVING AND FINANCIAL SECURITY FOR JELENA!'

Action report

The solidarity action with the presentation of demands in front of the City Hall on August 25 received a lot of support from solidarity BPW members, organizations, action groups and some council members. The only ones who did not show up were the councilors involved Mariëlle Vavier and Martijn Balster, to receive our demands. Even though this had already been communicated with the secretariat of the relevant councilor more than a week and a half in advance. Nevertheless, it was a militant demo and Jelena was able to draw a lot of strength from the broad support and solidarity from society. Thank you everyone for coming and showing solidarity! Check out the photos and video summary of the action below.


In order to be able to confront the councilors with their failing policy and lack of decisiveness when it comes to guaranteeing social security and preventing homelessness, Jelena and several BPW members made themselves heard during the Space committee debate on August 31 about the system. of urgencies. During the recording, Jelena made it clear what it means to her to live in uncertainty for so long and how she has been fighting for a declaration of urgency for years, but cannot even get past the application form on the website because she does not leave an independent home behind.​​​​​​​​​​​ 

Watch Jelena's speech in the video below

New homelessness policy

As a committed BPW member, Nick used his right to speak to point out to the municipal council the lack of decisiveness on the part of the municipality and the housing councilor to actually translate nice words into concrete actions. For example, housing councilor Martijn Balster wrote a letter about the 'Human dimension is central to the implementation of rules on emergencies and housing problems' and there is a new and very promising one policy framework on homelessness 'The Hague provides home'. Yet the BPW has its hands full with situations of impending homelessness and we have seen several times this year that vulnerable residents become homeless due to actions of the municipality or with the approval of the municipality. This is at odds with the good intentions that we read in the communication from the municipality and the alderman when it comes to housing vulnerable residents. Even in Jelena's situation, we have so far not seen anything of this change of course when it comes to preventing and combating homelessness in The Hague.

Watch Nick's speech in the video below


During the consultation, there was a lot of understanding for Jelena's situation from the municipal council and various parties sought rapprochement. However, the councilors failed again. They indicated that they did not see the point in having a personal conversation with us and Jelena, and pointed out to us that there is already contact with Jelena and a consultant with the municipality's crisis team to resolve the situation. However, this consultant is only actively working for Jelena regarding the unjustified accusation of social assistance fraud and her new application for social assistance benefits, after the previous one has been reclaimed. Her application for a new benefit has now been approved, which means that one of our demands has been partially met. 

The municipality feels little or no responsibility for her housing problems, even though they are the ones who escalated the situation at her home by withdrawing her benefits. The municipality's crisis team has 'mediated' with Jelena's landlord and put pressure on him to ensure that she can stay in the room for another 1 month. But offering a sustainable solution for Jelena so that she can really rebuild her life has not been possible so far. In the current situation, Jelena will still become homeless on September 25, and it seems that the municipality believes that they have provided enough customization in the meantime. 

In an email sent to Alderman Balster on September 6, we pointed out to him that the suggestion that a consultant is already actively working to resolve Jelena's situation is incorrect. The situation regarding her benefits is being taken seriously, that is true, but no solution has yet been offered for her housing problems. We therefore demand that Jelena's housing problems are taken seriously and that a housing consultant contacts her to resolve the situation of impending homelessness for her. In addition, this is the ideal moment to offer 'customization that transcends legislation and regulations' that the alderman promised in his letter. Make sure that Jelena no longer gets stuck in the urgent request form, but take her seriously and arrange a physical intake interview regarding her urgent request. 

To demand

Our demands, even partially met, remain as tough as ever. BPW and Jelena demand from the municipality of The Hague, poverty councilor Mariëlle Vavier and housing councilor Martijn Balster:

1. Offer housing security and ensure that Jelena can immediately apply for and receive urgent assistance for a social rental home.

2. Provide financial security by reinstating Jelena's benefit as of June 26, and undoing the $19,000 chargeback.

We continue to support Jelena in her fight for housing security and may prepare new actions if our demands are not fully met. Want to stay informed about Jelena's situation? Follow BPW The Hague Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Do you want to permanently join the fight for housing security in The Hague, then become a member of the BPW!

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