Netherlands

Policy

Assistance for homeless persons is regulated by the Social Support Act 2015 (Wmo 2015). Under section 1, subsection 1 of the Wmo 2015, community shelter services are defined as temporary shelter and counselling for persons who, due to one or more problems, have voluntarily left or been forced to leave their homes and are incapable of supporting themselves independently. Community shelter services are intended for people who are genuinely unable to hold their own. Pursuant to article 1.2.1 (also referred to as the nationwide access principle) the shelter has to be provided by the municipality that the homeless person turns to for help. The Act delegates responsibility for social support to the municipalities, as they are the best place to organise innovative forms of social support and develop individualised solutions. On the other hand, the nationwide access principle constitutes access to community shelter for those in need. Community shelter is one of the many forms of social support local governments are responsible for and must not be seen as a separate form of support.