- Category: News
- Created on Thursday, 10 November 2011 11:29
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
“Addicts and psychiatric patients will once again feature in the urban landscape of Rotterdam and surrounding areas,” Sjef Czyzewski of Bouman-GGZ, an organisation that cares for addicts in the Rijnmond area, told NRC.
Since 2006 an estimated 26,000 homeless people have been taken off the streets and into care in the country’s largest cities.
As well as improving their physical and mental well-being, the programme benefited the wider community as public safety improved and damage to property went down.
From next year homeless people will have to contribute to the cost of their mental health care, and those working in the sector fear that they will simply drop out of the system. Support services are also being reduced.
Amsterdam councillor Eric van der Burg said the government’s austerity measures were jeopardising the progress made in the last five years and called for a rethink.
“Cuts are counter-productive with this vulnerable group,” he said, referring to a study by the health ministry which found that homeless people on the streets cost society more than three times as much as those in the care system.
“It shows that investing in accommodation for the homeless delivers large savings in areas such as policing, justice and security.”
The health ministry would not be drawn on the possible effects of the cuts, but said it would examine whether charging the homeless for treatment caused them to turn down offers of support.