The number of homeless young people in Brabant is increasing. Over the past few years, more and more young people have been sounding the alarm at social shelters.

    The Salvation Army reported in November 2022 that the number of homeless young people aged 18 to 22 had risen by fifty percent throughout the Netherlands. The organizations that arrange social care (SMO) in the six largest municipalities in Brabant also see such an increase. All these organizations, with the exception of Den Bosch, indicate that more and more homeless young people have come knocking over the past few years. There was no response from the shelter in Tilburg.

    Overcrowded shelter
    Reception Springplank040 in Eindhoven has already seen a sharp increase in the total demand for reception over the past two years. “Instead of 55, we have had 96 places for two years now. Sometimes even more. The shelter is overcrowded.” The number of homeless young people has grown considerably over the past few years, according to the shelter in Eindhoven. Last year there were a total of 88 young people. “Really high figures for social care,” said the organization.

    At the end of 2022, the shelter in Breda offered shelter to 55 young people, compared to 30 a year earlier. At SMO Verdihuis (Oss), the counter stood at 172 at the end of 2022, out of 241 registrations.

    What emerges from the tour is the difference in waiting time between the various shelters. For example, homeless young people in Oss have to wait six to eight weeks for a place, while peers in Eindhoven and Breda can immediately go to the shelter.

    The above figures do not paint the whole picture when it comes to the group of 18 to 22 year olds. After all, not all young people report to SMOs if they are at risk of becoming homeless, due to the stigma attached to it, according to the organizations. MO Den Bosch: “It is difficult to admit that you cannot stand on your own two feet.”

    Crisis upon crisis
    The increase seen in social shelters has several causes. Firstly, the tightness of the housing market makes it difficult for young people to find a home. In addition, the social security of families is under pressure due to the cost crisis. In many cases, this causes stress in the home situation.

    Another factor is the way youth care works in the Netherlands. Young people who receive intensive youth care do not have to continue with it when they turn 18. There is a good chance that young people who opt for this will disappear from the image of social workers. “Extended youth care is too voluntary,” says the SMO Springplank040. “Young adults think they can do it themselves, but a number of them end up with us again.”

    Mental health problems
    The SMO in Helmond: “There is often no single reason why young people need shelter.” Because one can also be the result of the other. Several shelters cite psychological problems that lead to addiction as an example. Addiction, on the other hand, can lead to the loss of a social network. And so someone’s situation can get worse and worse.

    In order to reduce the number of homeless young people, it must become easier for young adults to find a home, according to SMOs. In addition, young people should receive more information and help in finding a home, for example, the organizations believe.

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