Disruptive families face rehousing in caravans
Anti-social families who persistently behave badly and intimidate their neighbours face being moved out of their local authority homes and into caravans in isolated parts of the city, under a tough new scheme being introduced in Amsterdam in the new year.
City mayor Eberhard van der Laan has backed the zero-tolerance plan, and a team of city hall officials has already begun identifying the worst offenders – who will be warned that unless their disruptive behaviour improves, they face eviction and rehousing in caravans “with minimal services”.
The scheme is already being compared to a controversial proposal last year by right-wing leader Geert Wilders to set up “tuigdorpen” or “scum villages” for repeat offenders in each province – from which they would be allowed to return only after working or studying for at least a year.
“Put all the trash together – and leave normal people alone,” Mr Wilders declared at the time.
Last night, a spokesman for Mr van der Laan, a former Labour Party minister, rejected the “scum villages” comparison and denied that the plan would create ghettos of uncontrollable troublemakers on the outskirts of the Dutch capital that would inevitably become no-go areas.
“We have learned from the past, and so we’re well aware that while a neighbourhood can usually deal with one problem family, if there are any more living together in close proximity the situation has a tendency to escalate,” said the spokesman, Bartho Boer.
“On the other hand, the aim of this scheme is not to reward people who behave badly with a brand-new, five-room home with a south-facing garden.
“This is supposed to be a deterrent. It has to work.” He said that families moved into the caravans would remain living there under the constant supervision of the police and social workers for an initial period of at least six months.
In tandem with the threat of eviction, he said the city was investing €1 million in tackling neighbourhood intimidation, including a new complaints hotline allowing victims of intimidation to report problems without fear of reprisals.