Call: October 30 action at Portaal in Leiden

Jennifer is a single mother who is expecting her second child. She is due on November 5th. To escape from a violent home situation, she fled to an anti-squat house owned by Ad Hoc. Her child goes to daycare in Leiden, but Jennifer has not yet built up enough waiting time to get social housing here. This while Portaal wants to demolish her house this year. Because Ad Hoc and Portaal refuse to give an exclusion about the date, it makes it impossible to obtain urgency.

The situation
Jennifer has been living in Leiden for some time. She once moved here out of necessity. Women's shelters did not want to help her, because there were contraindications and the private sector was (and is) far too expensive. An anti-squat house Ad Hoc Corantijnstraat in Leiden was the only place available at the time, and she seized the opportunity.

The house is absolutely not suitable for living with two small children. It is at the top of a porch apartment without a lift. Jennifer's son cannot yet walk that distance and therefore has to be carried. This while Jennifer also has to carry her second child, who is expected to be born in November. The house also does not have enough rooms to raise two children. This family expansion is Jennifer's free choice, but is interpreted by Portaal as something bad, which is a shame about Jennifer's rights.

The house won't last long either. Portaal and the municipality of Leiden want the demolish porch flats on Corantijnstraat and Paramaribostraat to make room for new construction. Jennifer has requested urgency, but although Portaal itself states that it aims to “demolish the homes in the course of 2023”, Portaal cannot yet provide sufficient clarity about when exactly that will be. Because the threat of homelessness is said to be insufficiently 'concrete', urgency is not assigned.

In addition, the emergency committee indicates that it would be Jennifer's 'own fault' that she rented temporarily, while her only other option was homelessness. Although Portaal cannot provide clarity about the demolition, the flat on Corantijnstraat is slowly being stripped and other preparatory work is taking place.

The emergency committee apparently does not care about this. Unfortunately, Jennifer, who never expected to live in Leiden, has hardly built up any registration time at Huren in Holland Rijnland. She has been registered here since 2019, which is not enough registration time to be able to claim a rental property in the short term.

Jennifer falls through the cracks: she opted for an anti-squat home under extreme circumstances and is now being blamed for her self-reliance. Portaal's ambition now makes her a victim. She does not even have the freedom to move from her current anti-squat home to another, as anti-squat landlords do not want to house people with children.

Youth Protection also indicates that a permanent home is very important for Jennifer's children. They must be able to settle down in Leiden, make friends and get to know their surroundings. If Jennifer is not offered permanent housing, she will be forced to become homeless. She has no other option. That is why BPW Leiden demands that Portaal arrange permanent social housing for Jennifer, with enough space for her family.

Action call
On Monday, October 30, we will hand over Jennifer's demand to Portaal and make it clear to them that this course of action is unacceptable. We hereby call on everyone to show solidarity with Jennifer and join our demonstration. Spread the word and hopefully we'll see you Monday the 30th!

Where: Housing association Portaal
3e Binnenvestgracht 23, Leiden
When: Monday October 30, 2023
Start: 1 p.m

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