Day against homelessness – October 10 – Actions around homelessness

Every year on October 10, worldwide attention is drawn to the fight against homelessness with World Homeless Day. The Precarious Housing Association (BPW) has also been committed to combating homelessness for years through direct action, preventing evictions and claiming housing rights for precarious residents. The government's ambition is to completely eradicate homelessness by 2030, but in practice we have seen virtually no concrete action or policy change associated with this and the number of homeless people is still steadily increasing. In this article we provide an update on some developments and actions surrounding homelessness in which BPW is involved and we call on people to participate in the march against homelessness in The Hague on October 10.

BPW Den Bosch is participating in a new count of homeless people

BPW Den Bosch contributed to a new census of homeless people. In the current CBS count, only people between the ages of 18 and 65 who are registered in certain registers are counted. For example, they only count the number of people registered with day and night shelters, the number of people who use postal addresses and data from the probation service. This count still showed at the end of September that the number of homeless people would have decreased. Every organization involved in combating homelessness knows that this is a distorted picture. That is why BPW Den Bosch collaborated on a new counting method that also includes homeless people - for example, these people sleep on the couch of family or friends, in cars, caravans, garden sheds or squats. Read for example Veerle's story, she lived precariously for years or is/was homeless. 

This count reveals a much more diverse and problematic picture of homelessness. It turns out that one third is female, and a quarter is a minor, and there are 54 different nationalities in this group. When the new counting method is implemented at national level, it will offer opportunities for more targeted policy, but we continue to emphasize that the problem will not be solved simply by better mapping it. The government will not suddenly tackle the problem more urgently on its own initiative. Direct action, grassroots organization and local resistance remain essential for this. Therefore, participate in the national BPW or one of them our local groups.

Tent camp Rotterdam Central

From Thursday October 5 to Friday October 6 set up a tent camp in front of Rotterdam Central Station to address the rising number of homeless people in the city. In 4 years the number of homeless people increased by 60%! Members of BPW Rotterdam, among others, were present to show support.

Action in The Hague – March against homelessness

The Street Consulate is organizing one in The Hague action against homelessness on World Homeless Day, Tuesday, October 10. Homelessness is also a growing problem in The Hague. This summer, The Hague Council published a new homelessness policy framework 'The Hague gives home'. But in the first practical example, the campaign to prevent homelessness for Jelena, the implementation of this policy framework and the efforts of the councilor received a high grade of insufficient.

There is still too little urgency to implement ambitious new policy plans. The homeless problem is and remains a housing problem, and currently has all the characteristics of a degrading crisis. This requires drastic crisis measures. If politics does not take responsibility for guaranteeing the fundamental right to housing, pave the way for self-organization and initiatives from society. Lift the squatting ban so that homeless people can claim the right to housing themselves. Expropriate vacant real estate and slum landlords and return them to the social sector or as shelters for the homeless. 

To reinforce these demands, we call on you to participate in the day of action against homelessness, which is being held in five different cities in collaboration with the SamenThuis2030 coalition. Members of BPW The Hague will be present at the march in The Hague and participate in the panel discussion between (former) homeless people and political representatives. 

Program for World Homeless People Day The Hague:

1:00 PM: Meeting with outgoing State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen of VWS at the Straat Consulate (Torenstraat 35A).
2:30 PM: Start gathering for the protest march at the Straat Consulate (Torenstraat 35A).
3:00 PM: Lunch provided by the De Vriend Foundation.
4:00 PM: The march towards the Spui starts, graced by Brass Band Legionnaires.
5:00 PM: Arrival at City Hall followed by music, poems, speeches, and a panel discussion between (former) homeless people and political representatives. And finally, handing over the door with groceries to Housing Councilor Martijn Balster.
6 p.m.: End of event.

There are also promotions in Amsterdam, Gouda, Rotterdam & Utrecht. For a complete overview of all actions organized by SamenThuis2030 see this PDF.

Add your voice: #togetheragainsthomelessness.

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