Committed collaboration to address homelessness in the Netherlands
Context: In the Netherlands, the number of homeless people increased from 17.800 in 2009 to 39.300 in 2018. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its socioeconomic consequences, the needs of marginalized people have increased worldwide in terms of access to services and relevant information. In the Netherlands, along with the Red Cross, other humanitarian organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Rainbow Foundation, and the Foundation for the Homeless are already providing people in need with primary needs such as food and housing, but also with healthcare and legal support. Cooperation between services for the homeless is also gaining attention. However, collaboration between relevant stakeholders is still insufficient and urges to be expanded. Moreover, centralized monitoring is challenging as different services are provided (shelters, assisted housing) by different stakeholders and there is no central data collection system or pre-defined indicators. Recent, comprehensive data on homelessness figures are needed to understand the needs and how these may have changed, given the exacerbated consequences of COVID-19 pandemic on those in socioeconomic vulnerability, in order safeguard the health, safety and dignity of homeless people.
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