European citizens in The Hague abandoned

European citizens who get into trouble in the Hague will no longer obtain assistance. As of January 1st, 2016, the only support available will be a one way trip to their country of origin. The previous policy, which supported people from other European countries to obtain justice and to find new perspectives, which sought the causes of their homelessness and unemployment, has been abandoned by the new local government and will end by December 31st, 2015.

Annually around 200 European citizens in The Hague get into problems due to labour exploitation, illegal landlords or criminal practices. Since 2008, the Foundation The Hague & Central Europe supported these people. Our approach was embedded in the thought that homeless migrants have their own responsibility. Like everyone else, they should protect themselves from abuse and pay for their return. Only if there is no alternative, they should be financially supported to return to their country of origin. With its support activities the foundation aimed at preventing that the victims of illegal employment agencies and former tenants of criminal landlords were deported for free.

Taking this as a principle, our foundation supported over 7 years EU migrants with their troubles. We looked at the causes of their homelessness and unemployment. We assessed the criminal practices that they encountered and took the necessary legal steps in order to recover; unpaid wages, reclaim deposits and report crimes. Then we looked for opportunities to get them back to work. In some cases, a bath, a bed and bread were made available to enable them to start working again. We helped people by deploying them on small tasks and assisted them in making contact with potential employers. If it became inevitable that opportunities where slim, we funded a one-way ticket back to relatives in their country of origin. As from January 1st 2016 we will no longer be supported by the municipality.

The foundation The Hague and Central Europe (IDHEM) has therefore sent a letter to the city council of The Hague. In this letter, the foundation has expressed its grieve concern on how the municipality intends to deal with homeless migrants from the European Union. The Alderman of the municipality recently commissioned and evaluation. This evaluation has been performed totally incompetent and draws awkward and peculiar conclusions. If the responsible Alderman follows the evaluations advices; by January 1st, 2016 all forms of assistance other than direct deportation tot the country of origin will seize to exist. As a foundation, we consider that unacceptable and extremely unwise.

When this policy comes about the responsible Alderman also will put aside a local organization which started back in 2008 with the support of homeless and unemployed EU migrants. An organization that has extensive experience in working with these people. With its assistance points and individual support, the foundation has supported in six years 1.115 people, many of them where capable of choosing a new direction by themselves. 401 people we supported in finding work and 116 people we supported to return to their country of origin (mostly at our costs). All at a price that is three times less than what the municipality is intending to pay. We hope the local council will prevent this policy to become a reality.