De The Netherlands currently has a shortage of reception places for asylum seekers. This situation is being made worse by the more than 17,000 status holders – recognised refugees with residence permits – still being housed in asylum seeker centres. They are entitled to accommodation elsewhere but are often forced to wait longer than necessary for a new home.
De Thuisgevers is an organisation that helps status holders start a new life by finding them housing via social initiatives. Temporary housing is created in empty buildings like vicarages, sports and company canteens, community centres and residential units. This gives status holders the opportunity to start a new life in the Netherlands and frees up space in asylum seekers centres for people who are still awaiting the outcome of their asylum applications. This enables de Thuisgevers to contribute to the achievement of a sustainable solution to the current asylum accommodation issues.
De Thuisgevers aims to find small-scale, high-quality accommodation for status holders. If possible, they will have their own front doors, privacy, personal bathroom facilities and access to cooking facilities. De Thuisgevers also provides status holders with personal (voluntary) buddies who can help them get to know their new surroundings. In this way, we pull together to give these new residents a warm welcome and access to an informal network.
Are there any empty buildings near you that could be used to accommodate status holders temporarily? If so, register with us as a (potential) home giver. We can then discuss possibilities with you. The assistance our national office gives to (potential) home-giving initiatives is completely free of charge. Our pioneers can help get a home-giving initiative off the ground and our coordinators are on hand to support local government throughout this process. Added to this, step-by-step plans with practical tips and sample materials are available to both social initiatives and municipalities.
By becoming a home giver, you are giving status holders the prospect of a new future. After moving into temporary housing, they are able to start the civic integration process and school-age children can go to school. When their time in temporary housing comes to an end, the municipality becomes responsible for relocating status holders to normal accommodation. In consultation with local homegiving initiators, it may be decided to house other status holders in the temporary accommodation or use it for other purposes.
Thanks to funding from the Ministry of Justice and Security, the assistance that the national office gives (potential) home-giving initiatives is completely free of charge. Local home-giving initiatives are funded via the hotel and accommodation arrangement (Hotel- en Accommodatieregeling (HAR)). The municipality receives an amount per status holder for six months, to cover the costs incurred for the use of a location. For example, rent, minor renovations and gas, water, light and internet. The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (Centraal Orgaan opvang asielzoekers (COA)) pays a living allowance and insurance money to status holders for the first six months. After this, they receive a benefit from the municipality if they are not working yet.
“I spent four years in an asylum seekers centre. The long wait put my life on hold. I didn’t know what was going to happen and I couldn’t plan for the future. That made me feel depressed. Now I feel human again. I can go to the shops, buy things, have contact with other people and look for work. I want to develop and be useful to society. At long last, I can make plans for the future again.”
With de Thuisgevers’ help, Behrang was able to move out of the asylum seekers’ centre into an empty vicarage and start his new life in the Netherlands.
“Giving status holders somewhere new to live might feel like a drop in the ocean, but it makes a huge
impact on their lives!”
“It was heart-warming to see everyone getting involved. Donating cupboards, beds, chairs and a washing machine; the vicarage was fully furnished in no time at all. It’s so rewarding to know that you can make a real difference to someone’s life. I recommend it to everyone!”
Feel free to contact the project office at de Thuisgevers via email@example.com or 06-21903658.