Preventing youth homelessness in the Netherlands
In a prosperous country like the Netherlands, more than 12.500 youngsters are homeless. This problem concerns all members of the Dutch society. Because homeless young people are ordinary young people, in an unusual situation. They just have the misfortune of being without the support of their parents. They have problems in several areas, get stuck due to lack of money, no safe place to live and a mess of rules and people who do not understand their situation.
Stichting Zwerfjongeren Nederland (SZN) ) is the national advocate for homeless youth. Together with young people, SZN draws attention to the obstacles they encounter on a daily basis. Day by day we show that becoming homeless is a result of systemic patterns of inequality, exclusion and neglect, and of failure of the government to act on their responsibilities as human rights protectors.
With the focus on preventing youth homelessness, SZN activates governments, politicians, organizations and citizens to create lasting solutions and permanently improve the situation of homeless young people. Prevention starts with enough and affordable housing possibilities and a proper income. When we approach homeless youngsters not as a problem but as human beings, take them seriously and act on the basis of trust, we can all work towards a healthy future for every youngster.